Dolmen

Overview in images of Dolmen, a project by Space Encounters Office for Architecture

About Dolmen, a project by Space Encounters Office for Architecture

Dolmen is a tree hut folly at Buitenplaats Koningsweg in Arnhem that serves as a house for animals and people. The design is part of an area transformation where nature, cultural heritage and contemporary art and architecture come together. Dolmen is an abstract, mysterious and scaleless object, which camouflages itself by not immediately revealing what it is. Is it an object from another time? Is half of it buried? Or is it a space ship that has landed silently overnight?

Three fat seven meters tall columns carry an abstract square box. The open structure of the columns try to minimise the interruption of the landscape and are a hideout for forest animals. Behind its half-open skin, nest boxes are hidden at different heights for bats, birds, squirrels and insects. When the wooden hatches of the lifted box open, Dolmen transforms and its interior spaces become openly connected with the surrounding forest. The separation from the ground creates a natural distance between the temporary residents of the cabin and passing by hikers, while offering a swing for big and small children.

Dolmen is materialised in prefabricated, locally sourced and produced sustainable preserved wood and five circularly harvested steel beams. The expressive, playful and transforming Dolmen will over time get absorbed in the ecosystem, enriching the strong shape and precise detailing of the design. Besides storage and a stairway, one of Dolmen’s columns houses a heat pump that, together with PV-panels and solar collectors, make it a self-sustaining forest resident.

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