Manhattan studio JacobsChang shows off beauty on a budget with their completion of the Half-Tree House, a one-room cabin tucked into the forests of upstate New York’s Sullivan County. Located on a remote 60-acre site, the 360-square-foot structure operates off-grid and was built by amateur weekend builders with a limited budget of $20,000. Despite the challenging steep slope, the architects and builders achieved an elegant result that dramatically juts out into the landscape.
JacobsChang kept construction costs for the Half-tree House low by sourcing most of the materials on-site, including the timber cladding made from locally felled pines. To minimize site work and use of retaining walls, the architects anchored the building on one side with simple concrete footings and then used the existing trees to support the other side with a Garnier Limb anchoring system.
Traditional Scandinavian pine tar was used to give the cabin a dark facade, which contrasts with the whitewashed interior. Three floor-to-ceiling pivoting windows open the cabin up to the outdoors, letting in ample natural light and ventilation. Say the architects: “The space is heated with a highly efficient Jotul wood stove and power, if needed, is drawn from a portable generator. The entire construction was performed by its two owners, and in the true spirit of New England barnraising, with a team of dedicated weekend support.”
Images © Noah Kalina