I’ve been thinking about the stormy north, and what we could do about a writing/artist’s space/spare bed space that could be easy to put in place but extremely weathertight. I’ve been considering what might be possible from a fully welded steel construction, similar to what used to sit at the end of Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh, or to the look of the original Artist’s Bothy - raw steel shaped like a stereotypical hut.
Recently I chanced upon “Culvert Guesthouse” by Nendo. It’s referred to as “kitbashing” in another article. Kitbashing normally refers to the use of parts of a model kit in another, unrelated, build. In this case, it’s the supposed reuse of concrete culverts as accommodation. Having looked at the photos and descriptions I don’t think kitbashing applies here as they were custom cast, but all the same…
Culverts and water catchment storage tanks are used in heavy infrastructure projects all the time, are precast in concrete and are easily available. I love the look of the plain culvert - imagining a 2.4 meters tall, 5.4 meters long and 2 meters wide flat-roofed culvert reimagined as a concrete office with glass down both sides would be quite a sight.
Concrete has obvious environmental costs, but in a location that gets a lot of weather and can regularly see 100mph winds, there’s also a cost of maintenance of any other material. Having something that goes from zero to built is a big advantage. And it won’t blow away whilst being set up either! Insulation of concrete might not be great, but the relatively small and contained space might make that not so much of an issue. It wouldn’t need pads to sit on. The door would be the ventilation (but it would need a midge screen for summer days). I think that the size would lend itself to a single sheet of industrial glazing as the window. The door side might be cheapest to create from a wood frame with smaller panes. The door could be under the overhang of the roof for protection from the elements. Maybe the front window would have a slight slope for the same reasons. Since it can be craned in and out in a moment it would be similarly temporary to a caravan and wouldn’t need planning permission. There would be no need for plumbing but there would be the need for wires for internet and power - these would come in on the door side and would probably ideally be built into the doorframe/windowframe to keep things simple. Probably good to have a storage cupboard there too. And the main lighting. It wouldn’t need any decoration at all, but the blank canvas would mean that you could line with anything - birch walls and a checkerboard tiled floor? A heated carpet? A writing desk platform that can double as a bed. A chair to write and draw from would be perfect. Who wants to fund it?