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The Backcountry Hut

Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

WINNER OF A 2016 CANADIAN ARCHITECT AWARD OF MERIT

Designed for use in remote locations, the modular shelters are prefabricated and erected with minimal site disruption and no need for heavy machinery.

The Backcountry Hut takes IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad’s ideal of affordable, well-designed products “for the many people” into the realm of lodging. Created for outdoor enthusiasts, the modular hut is designed as a flat-packed kit of parts that are easily assembled into an affordable recreation structure.

Packed onto pallets, the hut’s components can be shipped by air or off-road vehicles to remote sites. Minimal site work is needed: sonotube footings sit in hand-dug holes. Volunteers can erect the engineered wood post-and-beam frame by hand, and then, using a winch and pulley system, hoist prefabricated infill panels into place.

The flat-packed design allows the house components to be transported by air or by off-road vehicles.

The basic 10-foot-wide module encloses 191 square feet and sleeps up to four people; additional modules can be connected to accommodate more people. Optional inserts include a propane tank, composting toilet, and a solar power storage unit. The design encourages passive cooling, and includes photovoltaic panels to be installed on the sloped roof at mid-latitudes, or on a vertical façade at high and low latitudes.

A range of interior fit-out options and exterior finishes is available. This includes the possibility of furnishing the prefabricated shells to support year-round occupancy as a tiny “frontcountry” house.

The huts are rustic and simple in design to ensure durability, but can also be more elaborately finished for use as all-season dwellings.

Jury Comments

Manon Asselin :: I like the cloning potential of this little hut. A DNA module that can be copied, extended and retracted, plopped anywhere and not just used in the north. I think the drawings convey that idea very well. I also like the rawness of what’s presented on the interior, an understanding that the experience of backcountry is mainly about spending all of your time outside, and offering a simple and functional shelter when you come in.

Patricia Patkau :: This project is beautifully done. It’s careful about its openings and its allocation of solidity and enclosure, but you don’t get a sense of claustrophobia. And when you look at the common space, it’s very minimal. You can understand the rituals of daily life that would occur here—people making meals together, being social.

David Sisam :: In a sense, this project has the same sensibility as the C House. It’s at a different scale, but it shares the idea of flexibility and variable occupancies—a kind of economy of means—and the expression of generosity and organization achieved with very little space. The modules combine to make very handsome structures that are beautifully illustrated in the presentation.

CLIENT The Backcountry Hut Company | PRE-FABRICATION AND STRUCTURAL CascadianWoodTech | AREA AND BUDGET 191 ft2 ($69,000) / 527 ft2 ($89,000) / 748 ft2 ($119,000) / 937 ft2 ($139,000) – all budgets for shell only | STATUS Construction documents; construction of first prototype in summer 2017

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