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Cabin Project

Shadow Hills, California

The Cabin Project is an ensemble of eight cabins perched on a deck flanking a pedestrian walkway. The collection of cabins serves daily functions for the organization (library, office, dining, bathroom, kitchen, etc.) while doubling as sleeping cabins for workshop retreats. The site is a seven-acre horse ranch within which the therapeutic non-profit operates.

Shadow Hills Riding Club offers therapeutic riding programming for people with developmental and physical disabilities in which horses are used to facilitate healing and growth.

Shadow Hills, the location of the Cabin Project, is an equestrian zone within the city of Los Angeles. Though it is minutes from the San Fernando Valley indigenous suburban milieu, it feels remote. Surrounded by horse ranches, barns, and slow-moving tractors, the site has a unique charm fueled by horse culture. Along with the spirit of independence and freedom comes a sense of resourcefulness and industriousness. The ranch is alive with a constant buzz of activity— volunteers tending to horses, riders in the arena, and structures being built and rebuilt. These qualities influenced the students’ work on The Cabin Project. Ad-hoc design decisions were fluidly implemented during construction and rapidly absorbed into the fabric of the project. Students were inspired by the atmosphere of ranch that seemed to propel them to contribute.

The non-profit organization serving peoples with developmental and physical disabilities influenced site design moves of the Cabin Project. The 130- foot long deck creates a mini-town with a main street walkway. The cabins mimic tract-like housing each with their own specific alterations. The design embodies a physical separation by virtue of the large deck. This platform allows for a sense of integrated autonomy– a separate entity while also being a connected addition to the ranch.