The Arcana cabins, designed by Vancouver, Canada-based Leckie Studio Architecture + Design, are meant to link residents to the nature of rural Ontario by reflecting the deciduous forest surrounding them. The specific location of the more than two dozen cabins is kept hidden and only divulged upon booking, as part of the firm's objective to provide a truly immersive natural experience.
While prototypes were meant for off-grid living, the initial set of cabins stretch 275 ft² and include utilities such as running water, electricity, and heated flooring. Each cabin has a kitchen and a bathroom, as well as outdoor deck area and a fireplace. Arcana also draws on Leckie Studio's previous endeavor, Backcountry Hut Company, a flat-packed cabin enterprise that advanced research and development concerning off-grid living structures, DIY building, and the small home trend.
The Arcana cabins continue in a similar spirit, and while larger than the 170 ft² prototype, they are still tiny enough to create an authentic woodland experience. Following a test program in the winter/spring of 2021, the upgraded cabins with extra facilities have already been reserved until June 2022.
The exterior is made out of mirrored, polished stainless steel panels that are attached to a shipping container, which serves as the structural shell. The goal of Leckie Studio was to make the cabins as inconspicuous as possible while being aware of the current environment and its aviary occupants.
The mirror on the cladding is purposefully distorted to keep birds from flying into the building. The coating also incorporates a "subtle film," created in partnership with the non-profit Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) Canada, to help prevent bird strikes. Each cabin's enclosure is completed with a huge window that allows guests to see nature from their beds.
The cladding is both creative and cost-effective, costing less than traditional aluminum composite material (ACM) wall panel solutions. The envelope is made up of 10 full-size panels, each weighing 200 pounds, and ten half panels that are attached to the shipping container using treated wood panel frames and a special French cleat system designed by Powers Construction. The panels rise roughly one foot above the shipping container's ceiling, and each panel is secured by a welded flange to prevent uplift.
The Radius House is the young firm's first residential project, which was finished in the early weeks of 2022.