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Timber huts next to river
Rear view of timber huts next to river
Rear view of timber cabins overlooking river

Inside and out, these recycled timber cabins speak to a quieter way of living and a connection with nature while the simple design, recycled materials, and small footprint highlight the focus on sustainable architecture.

Resembling small fishing huts, Cabanas no Rio appropriately translates as ‘cabins on the river’. The huts sit facing the Sado River, steps from the water and overlooking the Sado estuary nature reserve in Comporta, Portugal.

Designed by Lisbon-based architect Manuel Aires Mateus, Cabanas no Rio takes tiny living to a new level with the two separate huts making up a combined area of just 26 square metres. One cabin contains the main living space, including a built in counter for simple meals. Its shape craftily frames the view and merges with the outdoors. The second hut features a shower that can be used indoors or outdoors, and a cozy bedroom that opens to the landscape.

Outdoor shower made from recycled timber
Bedroom with timber wall panels

Each hut was constructed off-site and transported on the back of a truck. They were then lifted into place and connected with a small wooden deck that leads to the jetty. Both the minimalistic style of the huts and the physical placement on the site offer a small ecological footprint. This is a place where you can detach from the daily pace of life through its connection to nature and its simplicity of inclusions. It inspires a quietness and regrounding of spirit.

Referencing the fisherman’s huts found in the area, the rustic structures are made from recycled timber inside and out. The walls, floors, roof, and even the matching kitchen workspace will be allowed to age naturally. “The wharf is medieval and assembled with wood,” said the architects about their material choice. “Its identity is kept long beyond the material’s resistance, an identity that allows [it] to change, to replace, keeping all the values.”

While the huts take us back to a simpler time, they are located close to a fashionable seaside resort called Comporta, just one hour south of Lisbon, Portugal. The rural retreat, perfect for two people sharing the space, has a wildlife reserve at its doorstep, where you’ll see flamingos, storks, and even dolphins. It’s also a renowned spot for bird watching.

You can book to stay at these gorgeous cabins here

Related project: Skyward Cabin is another all-timber cabin. You can read about it here

Recycled timber cabin with timber planks
Recycled timber cabins next to a wharf
Timber kitchen bench in recycled timber cabins

Sustainability specs:
– Recycled timber cabins with planks used for everything – structurally, external cladding, internal wall lining, flooring, roof, ceiling, kitchen joinery.
– Prefabricated offsite and
– Simple, almost camp-like offering. The kitchen is for simple food preparation only
– Minimal lighting with simple single bulbs or a lamp
– Two-way bathrooms allows for showering outside in the open air and natural light

Views towards river from recycled timber hut
View across timber deck with shower area
View from the bed to the river near the recycled timber cabin
Recycled timber cabins prefabricated in factory
Recycled timber cabins craned onto site
From the owner:

We have made Cabanas No Rio free from all superfluous objects, thus strengthening the feeling of being part of something larger than the challenges of everyday life.

Two small huts face the vastness of Sado River, and allow all the outside elements in through its doors.

Images courtesy of Aires Mateus and Silent Living. Photography by Nelson Garrido.

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