This multi-functional prefab cabin outside Madrid, Spain not only accommodates humans but the surrounding nature. Designed by Husos Architects, a studio based in Colombia and Spain, the (Synanthro) Love Shack is designed as a work/live space for a migrant couple and their extended family, while the landscape design and additional “bird architecture” is designed to combat the increasing population of the (slightly terrifying) Pine Processionary Moth.
The unique project explores the relationships between the environment, it's inhabitants, and the concept of home (near and far), interweaving a variety of elements to address the needs of its clients and the ecosystem of its site.
Similar to the emerald ash borer and hemlock wooly adelgid in North America, the Pine Processionary Moth is responsible for an alarming rate of deforestation throughout Europe. Like a tiny porcupine, the caterpillar has protective spikes that when encountered can cause severe rashes in humans, and can even prove fatal to small animals if not treated immediately.
The design of the Love Shack project, which sits in a forested area adjacent to a Special Protection Area for birds, provides additional protection and habitat for various species of birds and bats—natural predators of the caterpillar that face habitat loss due in part to incompatible local forestry practices.
In addition to considering this habitat loss in the design of the cabin, the studio installed a variety of birdhouses around the property to provide new nesting places.
For its human occupants, the cabin's main structure is prefabricated from local pinewood and features a double-height kitchen and living area at the heart, with a multifunctional office/bedroom around the corner. A bathroom sits in the middle, and a small lofted alcove acts as the master bedroom above. Sliding doors lead out onto a small patio surrounded by metal netting that protects the birds from flying into the reflection of the glass.
The rooftop outdoor space acts as an additional living room in the warmer months and contains a hammock, a movable piece of decking, and a large screen, intended for video calls with family.
Wedges of Jacaranda wood, painted in the purple of its flower, act as a privacy screen and bring a bit of home to the clients who, like the tree, are from South America.
One of the most holistic cabin designs we’ve seen thus far, the project not only lessens its impact but “gives back” with a perceivable amount of rigorous care in its approach—all in technicolor.