However, having this feature on this project is unique. Not only because it instantly opens up the inside of a house to the outdoors but also due to the uniqueness of the project.
So this is architect Jeffery Broadhurst’s off the grid project in West Virginia called The Crib®. It was designed in response to the popularity of another small building, the award-winning Shack at Hinkle Farm by Broadhurst Architects, Inc., that was completed a few years ago. It became apparent that many people identified with and were interested in a small shelter that could serve as a weekend retreat, as a home yoga studio, as a backyard home office, or in multiples as cabins at an eco-resort.
This new building takes its basic form from traditional American corn cribs which were common farm buildings that served to store and dry corn as well as protect it from rodents. Here the form is realized by the use of a shop-fabricated galvanized steel bent structural system as a nod to traditional wood timber framing and with the structural simplicity of a common scaffolding system. Manufactured wood beams connect the bents. Structural insulated panel (SIP) floor and roof systems, wall panels of unpainted heat-treated native (and fast growing) poplar and recyclable translucent insulating multi-layer polycarbonate sheets make up the structure’s skin. The prefabricated wall panels are weather-stripped and clipped into the framework. The simple structural concept of The Crib allows considerable flexibility in the length of the building and degree and type of outfitting.
The simple structural concept of The Crib allows considerable flexibility in the length of the building and degree and type of outfitting. The Full Crib is a 250 square foot habitable space suitable for weekend recreational use, backyard home office, studio, or guest cottage. The two outdoor decks increase the livable area to about 370 square feet. The building can be elevated on an enclosed foundation to house a bathroom and mechanical and storage spaces, or guest room (increasing the total area to about 500 square feet), or may be supported by four simple concrete piers in other locations and circumstances. The building can be heated with a small propane-fired stainless steel fireplace and/or an electric or hydronic radiant floor system. Solar hot water and photovoltaic’s can be integrated into the structure.
The option of a small well-outfitted “kitchen in a box” allows for many of the comforts of home. The building is designed to resist rodents, bears, and undesirable visitors by securely closing down when not in use. Wood shutters secure any ground-level openings; an awning swings down to form a storm door to cover the glass door/wall, and the aluminum stair system hinges up off of the ground and locks in an inaccessible position.
The Crib includes a small entry deck and a larger deck space on the opposite side that extends the habitable space in favorable weather. This deck is accessed through an insulated glass garage door that allows a connection between the interior of The Crib and the landscape.