Exploring small living with the Moonlight Cabin

By Penny Craswell

Unlike other parts of Australia, the South West coast of Victoria does not get very hot – summer maximum averages are around 23º (73ºF) while winter minimum averages are around 6º (42ºF). Architecture firm Jackson Clements Burrows have designed a small holiday cabin along the coast here as an experiment in small living as well as a way to test the best architecture to suit the climate.

Small footprint living at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
Small footprint living at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio

Called Moonlight Cabin, the structure has a small footprint at only 60sqm (645sqft), an intentional choice to challenge what size is necessary for a holiday house. Inside, the cabin is one large space, with the kitchen, bathroom and utilities clustered in a central “pod”.

The benefits of the small space can be seen in the low running costs of the cabin, which is designed to be environmentally passive. This is achieved with the aid of a responsive architectural skin made of timber in Spotted Gum. The architects compare this to a “gore-tex jacket” – operable shutters can transform the skin into a rain screen, or can be opened to allow cross ocean breezes. They can also completely secure the house when the family is away for extended periods of time.

Moonlight Cabin is grid connected and rainwater is sustainably harvested. Melbourne-based architects JCB (Tim Jackson, Jon Clements and Graham Burrows) used this building as a way of understanding the site and conditions, with plans to build a larger house in future.

More on JCB

The louvres of the Moonlight Cabin by JCB open the house. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
The louvres of the Moonlight Cabin by JCB open the house. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio

1_Moonlight Cabin by Jackson Clements Burrows

Central living with suspended fireplace at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
Central living with suspended fireplace at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
The Moonlight Cabin by JCB is an experiment in designing for this location. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
The Moonlight Cabin by JCB is an experiment in designing for this location. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
The building's skin from the inside at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
The building’s skin from the inside at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
Bedroom at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
Bedroom at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
Second bedroom with bunks at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
Second bedroom with bunks at the Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
At night the structure glows - Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
At night the structure glows – Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
The coast is rugged and windswept - Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio
The coast is rugged and windswept – Moonlight Cabin by JCB. Photo: Jeremy Weihrauch of Gollings Studio

2 thoughts on “Exploring small living with the Moonlight Cabin

  • December 18, 2015 at 1:28 am
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    Absolutely fantastic and I mean it.
    All I need now is an acre or so along one of our coasts.
    I’m jealous of anybody who manages to build it like it is presented.

    Reply
  • January 14, 2017 at 11:37 pm
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    An amazing cabin, both inside and outside as well as fantastic location.
    Inspirational for architecture student.

    Reply

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