Dutch design group Tjep has designed an off-grid retreat called Isolée that opens like a cupboard. This quirky concept also incorporates a roof-mounted “solar tree” that rotates to collect all the solar energy required to power the retreat. In designing the project, Frank Tjepkema and his team embraced a variety of integrated technologies to create a building that is wonderfully self-sufficient.
Isolée is a three-story structure designed on a concrete pier foundation in order to limit its impact on the site. This creates a sense that the building is standing on feet, like an old stand-alone cupboard that you might find in your grandmother’s kitchen. The shuttered façade opens on hinges to expose the interior of the retreat to the surroundings. This mechanism would be linked electronically to a monitoring computer so that it would close if a storm or hazard was approaching.
The retreat is comprised of a system of sustainable features that ensure minimal fuel consumption and topped with a “solar tree” that sprouts from the roof like a flower, and rotates intelligently to follow the path of the sun. This solar array provides the building’s electricity while a stove and heat pipe system covers heating. The wood-burning stove heats water that is then pumped through the walls.
Isolée’s aesthetic is playful and sleek, and Tjep is currently looking for financial partners to make this building a reality. Wouldn’t this be a great building to use as a destination on your next vacation?