Embracing the Boy Scouts of America's "leave no trace" mantra, Gensler designed and built an incredible eco-cabin for Camp Emerald Bay on Catalina Island. Utilizing sustainable design principles, renewable energy and two 20' shipping containers, the cabin is the first of twenty off-grid cabins set for a redevelopment plan that will transform an 85-year old campground into a year-round outdoor learning center.
The eco-cabin is made up of two 20′ containers bolted together to create a 320 sq ft space. The structure has been covered with a vaulted translucent roof of stretched silicone-coated fiberglass over aluminum arches, and the roof and the connecting sides of the two containers were removed to provide a larger, light-filled structure. As this is a cabin designed for boy scouts, little is needed in terms of power, and LEDs are powered by a solar system to offer light at night. During the day, the translucent vaulted ceiling offers ample daylighting while also giving the cabin a more spacious feel.
Gensler designed and built the cabin back in LA, cut the sides away, insulated the interior and from there all the materials were packed away inside the containers for shipping to the Island. The two containers were installed upon a low concrete six pier foundation and a deck was constructed from reclaimed wood taken from an old dock in the bay. An additional nineteen, identical cabins will be constructed and assembled on the island to replace the camp’s existing barracks. There will also be the addition of a new outdoor learning center, also to be constructed from shipping containers.
Gensler provided their services pro-bono for this project; while Arup managed the structural engineering, J. Miller Canvas the roof and doors, The RMS Group the containers, Primus Lighting the LED Lighting, and Nora Systems the rubber flooring.
Photos: Richard Hammond © Gensler