The Amber Road Trekking Cabins: Architecture Competition Entry by Sparano + Mooney Architecture

At Sparano + Mooney Architecture, we are always in search of creative outlets for our ideas and for new ways to innovate and promote sustainability in architectural practice. Submitting conceptual projects to architectural competitions is just one way that we attempt to advance our critical thinking, and our team of architects and designers recently put forth a tiny house proposal to the Amber Road Trekking Cabins architecture competition, organized by Bee Breeders in association with the Latvia Nature Conservation Agency, which calls for the design of several travelers’ cabins to be situated along the extensive and stunning Amber Road trekking path. The path will run along the beaches of the Baltic Sea, a remote treasure of natural beauty in Northern Europe renowned for the fragments of glowing amber that wash up on the region’s shores. Winning designs will be considered for construction as a means of boosting tourism to Latvia.

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Sparano + Mooney Architecture’s entry for the Amber Road Trekking Cabins architecture competition. Courtesy Sparano + Mooney Architecture.

Sparano + Mooney Architecture’s entry was designed to accommodate four travelers and their basic micro-housing needs for 24 hours, to implement an amber-tinted polycarbonate façade for its aesthetic and technical characteristics, to harness the solar path and prevailing wind patterns for sustainability considerations, and to be constructed from prefabricated “flat pack” wooden structural components to minimize on-site construction and installation requirements. These variations make the cabins adaptable to most outdoor environments and weather conditions experienced along the trekking path throughout the year, meaning travelers to the area will be able to utilize the facilities on an extended basis and the Latvia Nature Conservation Agency can maximize its investment in this catalyst for economic and architectural development.

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Sparano + Mooney Architecture’s entry for the Amber Road Trekking Cabins architecture competition. Courtesy Sparano + Mooney Architecture.

The Amber Road trekking path is planned to allow long-distance hikers the opportunity to traverse the country from the border with Lithuania to the border with Estonia. The total distance a trekker could hike would be 530 kilometers (approximately 330 miles), an arduous journey that would necessitate accommodations for the weary along the route. We took the opportunity to suggest structures that would both provide shelter and allow the occupants to indulge in the country’s scenic wonders. The competition brief stipulated that the architect’s designs be suitable for various terrain found along the route, and that they be constructed in a manner that would not disrupt the natural environment or interfere with the conservation and preservation of the landscape. Indeed, the competition organizers requested that the cabins pay homage to Latvia’s heritage and to have the potential to become cultural landmarks in their own right. Sparano + Mooney Architecture’s entry sees the translucent polycarbonate act as a colorful amber cladding covering the traditional Latvian timber structure. These tiny house cabins, scattered throughout the scenic landscape, will help travelers recollect and preserve their experiences here as amber-hued memories.

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Sparano + Mooney Architecture’s entry for the Amber Road Trekking Cabins architecture competition. Courtesy Sparano + Mooney Architecture.

We are excited to have been able to submit our designs for this project, and should our proposal be successful, we would be honored to have our concept constructed in such a beautiful setting! Do you have an abstract idea you would like help exploring? From large projects to small, we are focused on delivering thoughtful, innovative, contemporary and sustainable design solutions in architecture to accommodate each client’s visionary, functional and budgetary requirements. We’d love to hear from you!