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Copper Awards: Judges' Special Prize

Freya’s Cabin, Kielder Water, Northumberland by Studio Weave

Freya’s Cabin is part of ‘Freya and Robin’, a project to build two structures on the banks of Kielder Water in Northumberland. The structures provide stopping points for visitors walking or cycling along the lakeside path. The architects considered the dramatic site as a stage set or a backdrop against which they could tell a story.

They invented two characters by personifying two sites facing each other across the water and wrote a love story about a flower-loving goddess, Freya, who builds a cabin to entice the object of her affections, Robin, to row across the lake to her. Freya modelled the cabin on her flower press, taking tree branches and pressing them tight together to create an enchanted forest ceiling, then balancing it up high on the tallest, straightest stems that she could find. When she saw Robin rowing away, Freya cried tears of gold and wrapped the cabin in them.

Freya’s Cabin, Kielder Water, Northumberland by Studio Weave

Freya’s Cabin, Kielder Water, Northumberland by Studio Weave

The fantasy of the design story is echoed in the cabin’s construction. The structure is made from CNC-cut plywood layers held together with glue and tension rods. The plywood is interspersed with clear acrylic sheets which admit light and form the balustrade. The building is supported on a series of brass-clad ‘stems’ planted into concrete foundations. Preformed trays of a copper and aluminium alloy are used to clad the cabin. The sheets represent Freya’s golden tears and the copper alloy was chosen for its rich, golden colour and durable finish. The sheets are perforated in a tear-like pattern and are fixed to allow movement as the structure breathes with the weather.

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