Vale De Moses Meditation Cabins (Competition)

Portugal, 2020

All architecture could be seen as projections of our own bodies into space. With this philosophy the spaces we occupy should be organised rather like an organism, our own physical, life and spirit bodies. In Vale de Moses the emphasis is on healing, connectivity with nature, and inner calm. So these cabins are symmetrical, as we are, have a gaze that is directed towards the outer world, as we have, and has a heart centre, just like all of us. The four basic elements of earth, air, fire and water are made explicit and are expressed without any peripheral distractions.

Timber has many advantages as a construction material. It is renewable, it is excellent for carbon sequestration, it is easy to work, is relatively lightweight, and when carefully detailed has a very long life with minimal maintenance. The cabins are conceived as fully timber constructions 'perched' on a local stone base that is also a fire for heating the space in winter. This plinth is also the base for the treatment bed or couch; a symbolic and physical centre of the little building. The green roof is designed to reduce overheating in summer and acts as a rainwater collector. The elevated floor allows for ventilation through a flap under the end of the couch, with air then passing via stack effect out through the openable slot windows either side of the service core. In more extreme heat, the fully glazed picture window can be manually cranked down to be 2/3rds open and form a balustrade.

Design Team: Nic Pople, Muneeb Ali Khan, George Sinclair, Sophie Woodhatch