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For the Restless
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Architecture Spotlight: The Nolla Cabin

Architecture Spotlight: The Nolla Cabin

The newly built Nolla cabin on Vallisaari, an island in Helsinki, Finland, redefines the notion of sustainable design. Created by Finnish architect Robin Falck, the cabin is constructed with ecofriendly materials to allow guests to experience a zero-emissions vacation. ↓

Dubbed Nolla (meaning “zero” in Finnish), the cabin is reachable via a 20-minute boat ride from the Helsinki market square. The cabin was in collaboration with renewable-energy company Neste’s “Journey to Zero” initiative which explores ideas for a fossil-free future. ↓

Mirror panels cover one side of the roof to deflect heat and prevent the cabin's temperature from rising too high.

One end of the cabin is all glass, allowing for natural light throughout the space and providing visitors a stunning ocean view. Committed to as small of a carbon footprint as possible, the cabin only feature textiles made of natural materials such as linen, jute, and bamboo. It functions entirely on renewable energy generated by solar panels on one side of the roof, while mirrors on the other side deflect the sun so the interior doesn’t get too hot. Additionally, the stove runs on renewable diesel, and guests are asked to use the provided canvas grocery bags and reusable water containers if they decide to venture into town. There is, however, no running water in the cabin: The Nolla is located a quarter-mile walk from composting toilets and a half-mile walk away from fresh water at the Vallisaari guest port. ↓

Falck designed the A-frame cabin to be easily taken apart, moved without the need for heavy equipment and then put back together. The individual pieces of the structure slot together like a puzzle and sit on eight extendable wooden legs that can be adjusted to suit even the most bumpy terrain, which also means minimal impact is done to the land it sits on—as if it was never there. The compact mobile dwelling is available for rent until the end of September on Airbnb for only $35 a night.