Jacob Witzling may lack formal architectural training, but his passion for nature and cabin architecture has provided him with all the tools needed to both design and construct idyllic living spaces. Witzling’s cabins can be found throughout the United States; these structures are often sequestered to the woods, providing a remote escape from urban centers and suburban sprawl.
Witzling’s interest in cabins began at the age of 16. His father, an architect and engineer, provided him with a preliminary exposure to the world of designing and building. “I needed to exist in the woods, and even though I had never built anything other than a blanket fort, I knew that my passion to create would be sufficient,” says Witzling. “I remember pouring over the pages of my dad’s favorite book, 'Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art.' I would gaze at the pictures from inside my blanket fort and daydream about building one of my own.”
The structures themselves vary greatly in terms of their construction, size, and amenities. One example, in particular, is Witzling’s octagonal cabin, which embodies an overall feeling of architectural maturity. Built from a collection of salvaged lumber and furniture elements, the Octagonal micro-living space includes an open area equipped with comfortable seating, a stove, and a sleeping space.
The structure is entered through a pair of large doors, creating an opening the size of two of the structure’s eight sides. This allows for a fluid movement between the interior and exterior, engaging both spaces as a single entity.
Other elements of the design that enhance the close relationship between the structure and its natural environment include its many windows and integrated vegetation. Above the main gathering space is a lofted sleeping area surrounded by triangular windows that allow natural light to illuminate the interior. On the exterior, the cabin’s roof is covered with a local moss, harvested and replanted by Witzling during the cabin’s construction.