Caledonian Cabin

Oliver Chapman Architects, Falkirk, 2015


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  • Cabin Locations    
  • OCA Camping Pods Site Plan    
  • OCA pod plans    
  • Camping Pod Section    
  • Elevation    
  • Concept Diagram    
  • OCA pod eaves detai    

Timber cabin manufactured off-site and adapted for a variety of uses

For an organisation like Scottish Canals, the logistics of lifting heavy structures, particularly boats, on and off the canal towpath in remote locations, is an every day challenge. As the value of Scotland’s canal network is increasingly realised through leisure rather than industrial uses, interesting questions emerge about how its new values can be expressed in its architectural commissions.

These cabins have been designed so that they can be built off-site (two per lorry) and adapted for different purpose in modular form. So far, single cabins have been built for use as office ‘in the field’ and for overnighting beside the Caledonian Canal in the Great Glen. Three cabins, interlinked with glass are used for tourism facilities next to the Kelpies horses head sculptures at Falkirk.

The cabins are inspired by the box beds used in highland croft houses which are micro ‘rooms’, containing just the bed, with vertical sides, a lid and wooden doors to completely internalize the space. Box beds are somewhere between furniture and architecture, and represent the special qualities of compactness, efficiency, and introversion experienced when staying in a snug, croft house or bothy.

Their simple cubic form is made more complex by a pitched roof with a diagonal ridge. The charred Scottish larch timber rainscreen is detailed with semi concealed gutters and trims to give the illusion of a solid object. In contrast, the interior is warm birch timber with brightly coloured linoleum.


  • Begun: Apr 2015
  • Completed: Nov 2015
  • Floor area: 10m2
  • Sector: Sports and leisure
  • Total cost: £30,000
  • Funding: Public Funded
  • Tender date: Jan 2015
  • Procurement: Minor Works
  • CO2 Emissions: .kg/m2/year
  • Address: The Helix, Falkirk, FK2 9EE, United Kingdom

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