The idea to take refuge in nature away from the big cities bustle and noise becomes increasingly tempting and many architectural and design firms developed projects in this area, creating modern, contemporary versions of the classical cabin in the woods.

The tree-raised timber workshop by Invisible Studio reinforces this desire and takes it to a new level. Located in a forested area near Bath, UK, architecture practice Invisible studio has built the timber structure to serve as a workshop and office space. The design team followed the project through construction and also enrolled neighbors and friends to help.

The building’s frame is composed of untreated and unseasoned logs, which were sourced from the woodland surrounding the site. The studio is on two floors – there is a 55-square-metre enclosed space accessed via a bridge from the slope, which is above an open workshop for the practice to make full-scale models. Concrete footings beneath the stilts were mixed by hand and designed to have as little visual impact as possible.

Reclaimed windows have been used to create a wall, which faces south-west, attracting sunlight throughout the day. Timber from the scaffolding was re-used for the entrance bridge and turned upside down for the flooring inside, which was colored red using left-over paint from one of Invisible Studio’s previous projects. Insulation was pieced together from off-cuts, and additional heat is provided by a wood-burning stove, which uses waste timber from the site. The exterior is covered in oriented strand board (OSB), which has been painted with a black waterproof layer. Untreated timber from the surrounding woodland has been fixed on top of this in horizontal stripes, and will age to a grey color.

A pond has been added at the foot of the building to catch excessive storm water and limit flooding further down the sloping site. It also doubles as a mini-wetland area to encourage biodiversity.

Being that none of the workers had previous construction experience, the project was developed to utilize unskilled labor techniques, with minimal drawings. This process allowed for and embraced ad-hoc discoveries and in-progress decisions. Any mistakes that resulted from the amateur nature of the fabrication team were left unconcealed in the finalized structure.

The workshop cost £15,000 to build, including materials and labor, with all participants paid an equal rate.

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