The Tiny Kiwi Meditation Cabin Competition is part of Bee Breeders’ Small Scale Architecture Appreciation Movement showcasing small projects that contain big ideas. Designers were tasked with proposing an eco-friendly cabin located alongside the Hauraki Plains in New Zealand.
This event is the first in a series organised by Bee Breeders in collaboration with Earth Energies Sanctuary, a wellness retreat designed to bring about balance of body and mind, set within 200 acres in New Zealand, ideal for seclusion, relaxation and experiencing nature. The sanctuary currently features a 2-bedroom cabin on its site where guests can enjoy spectacular panoramic views.
For this particular competition, participants were tasked with submitting designs for a meditation space to be constructed in a clearing on the site. The proposed location sits roughly 300 meters downhill from the main residence, accessed only by foot. The cabin should be able to accommodate up to 4 guests plus a meditation guide for 1 to 2 hours during the day or evening. This space is not intended to act as accommodation, and therefore does not require any amenities or facilities other than those needed to run a meditation session.
As winning designs for the Tiny Kiwi Meditation Cabin are to be considered for construction, jurors sought designs that were sustainable in nature and offered innovative, creative solutions.
Bee Breeders worked with an international jury with backgrounds in design and academia. Several of the jurors have portfolios of built work focused on small-scale residential and cabin projects. The full jury included: Willem van Bolderen, founding partner of Helsinki-based Studio Puisto Architects Ltd; Pip Cheshire, director of Cheshire Architects, based in Auckland, New Zealand; Jakob Gate, co-founder of architectural studio Native Narrative and mobile sauna company Scandinavian Sauna; Kai Gu, Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland; Dr Ferdinand Oswald, architect, researcher and course coordinator of Design Technology courses at the School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland; Jordi Riembau Ribot and Miguel Rusca Mestre, co-founders of Nordest architecture SLP; Michael Romanowicz, founder and CEO of Den Outdoors; and Rick Sommerfeld, an architect, Assistant Professor and the director of ColoradoBuildingWorkshop, the design-build program at the University of Colorado, Denver.
Bee Breeders and its jury panel would like to thank all the designers that participated in this competition.
Jury feedback summary
‘The Nest’ consists of three parts: a timber base structure, a series of platforms, and a semi-translucent, adjustable fabric covering that glows like a lantern in the evening. A minimalist cube, the design reads as an identifiable sculptural element within its green surroundings. The timber structure is a double frame, giving the small form a sense of depth and its plan is like that of a temple. Its raised floor cleverly hides storage compartments to keep the nest clean and free of objects. The jurors described this favourite as “clear and conceptually elegant.” One juror noted that a rigid panel or fabric stretched on a frame may offer a more viable design solution than a simple hanging fabric.