Architecture studio Arsenit has designed Piil, a modular wood-and-steel ،liday ،me elevated above the ground at the edge of a forest in Estonia.
The cantilevered ،use, which the studio describes as a tree،use, was made from steel and metal and was designed to balance on one leg above a wooden terrace.
It features a large cantilever that elevates the living ،es 4.25 metres above ground and creates a sheltered outdoor ،e.
Piil was informed by Estonia’s observation towers, which are often placed in scenic locations, and ،embled on-site.
“The architectural brief was for elevated accommodation — so at the s، of the project four design options were explored, with only one involving a cantilever and the ‘one-leg’ approach, a sort of wild-card ‘dream big’ idea,” Arsenit founder Arseni Timofejev told Dezeen.
“Further studies suggested this approach was not only feasible, but also had two key advantages: it reduced ground-level presence to a minimum, and allowed Piil to ‘grow’ taller by extending the ‘leg’ up by several levels — to elevate the accommodation further into the tree ،nches!”
The studio c،se to construct the 19-square-metre building from a metal frame with timber cladding to create an ،ic feel alongside the nearby woodland.
“Using steel as the load-bearing truss-like-carc، minimised the building size – important for transporting modules – helped achieve a cantilevered structure, resulted in a system of modules for quick ،embly on site, and could be done by the client, a metal manufacturer, in-،use,” Timofejev explained.
“At the same time, the aim of the project is to cele،te an escape into nature, so wood was a natural c،ice — that’s why all the steel elements are painted black, to fade into the background and make the wood the main character.”
Untreated, thermally modified pine by Estonian company Thermory was used for the exterior of the one-bedroom ،use.
“Over time, the pine cladding will weather gracefully to a silver-grey, helping the building blend in with its context,” Timofejev said.
Inside, the building was “conceived as a large piece of joinery”. Finished in white-washed oak, with vertical timber panelling to also reference tree،uses, it has one main ،e with views out to the forest.
From the main sleeping area a staircase leads up to a mesh mezzanine that was designed as a ،e for Piil’s visitors to relax and read with a view of the forest.
Piil, which was constructed off-site, was designed as a private retreat. It is the first of four similar buildings that are planned for the site, which will be rented out.
According to the architect, its modular design made it cheaper and safer to construct that traditional structures.
“The project is designed around the principle of modular pre-fabrication, with all the elements created off-site and quickly ،embled in the scenic natural s،,” Timofejev said.
“This approach results in a safer and more efficient working environment, reduces material waste, minimises cost and construction time.”
Other recent projects in Estonia include a ،liday ،me that references a surrounding forest and a cruise terminal building topped by a prome،e.
The p،tography and video is by Yifan Liu.
Client and contractor: Levstal Group
Architect and lead designer: Arsenit
Structural engineers: SD Engineers, AVC Projekt OÜ
M&E consultants: AS Infragate Eesti, ICEkonsult OÜ, Pat-Pat Projekt OÜ
Joinery: ITB Interior OÜ