Anna, garden house by Caspar Schols – PH: Jorrit’t Hoen

An ambitious project that combines the love of nature to the craftsmanship of those who designed it.

The world of tiny houses is as complex and vast as it is fascinating and minimalist. In spite of what you might think, having a limited amount of space and money is synonymous with great design skills and infinite design solutions. An example of this is the mini house built by Caspar Schols in his parents’ garden in Eindhoven.

“I was looking for a design that had extreme flexibility. A design that could reflect the ease with which we change clothes,” says Schols. And in fact the result of his cabin named Anna reflects his desire to create a design that is suitable for all seasons. Thanks to a sliding system, the garden cabin opens completely or partially to leave you completely free to live in connection with nature. But that’s not all.

We asked Caspar Schols a few questions to find out the details that make his flexible small house project so special. This is what he answered us.

Anna. This is the name of your project. Why did you choose a female name?

Anna is my mother’s name. I wanted to name the project Anna to thank her for all her support and her endless trust in me. Without her this would have never come off the ground the way it did. At the same time, it fits the house perfectly, it is a sort of code for the design. You can imagine the 2 wooden sliding bits to be the N’s and the 2 glass sliding bits to be the A’s.

Where does the inspiration come from to create a house suitable for all seasons? I read that this is the house you built for your mother and I would like to know if your choice is due to her passion.

Yes this is true. My mother is a nature person in the bones. She always wants to be outdoors and whenever she is indoors she feels locked up. So I grew up in an ice-cold house because she would always open all doors and windows even in winter time. My mother is someone who doesn’t want to miss any change in nature. For example, all the visiting animals in her garden, but also the little new leaves on the trees growing bit by bit every day in spring time. Or the steam coming from vegetation after a heavy rain. She would always be telling my brothers (I am the youngest of four boys) and me about everything that was happening around us in our very own garden. She didn’t want to miss one second and she didn’t want us to miss it either.

How did you manage to create a structure that made it possible to extend the house? Were the materials you chose fundamental?

The structure is completely built in wood. I used it in the way they build traditional train stations. It’s a structure that cannot get its stability from its side walls (like a normal house) and so it needs to get it from somewhere else (like a train station). The trusses guarantee lateral stability. The materials are not fundamental to this, I could have chosen steel or even plastic, but I never considered another material really. Wood is durable, easy to work with, smells great, looks great and environmentally friendly.

In addition to some government restrictions, you had to deal with a budget of € 20k and a fairly long requirement list. Can you tell me about it?

Yes this was a challenge. But to be honest I do think the low budget and long requirement list were actually helpful and sparked the design itself. I needed something flexible and simple at the same time. I have learned that too little restrictions in design and budget can lead to bad design, it makes you less critical. When you have less resources you need to be more creative with them.

Your debut as an architect comes with a tiny house project. Do you have other plans for the future?

At the moment we are working together with wildlife organization to put up different versions of ANNA (some have a bathroom and kitchen inside) in some of the most beautiful locations in the world. For me this is extremely exciting because it combines my passion for making/crafting with my passion for nature. I feel I am incredibly lucky to do what I am doing on a daily basis. In the meanwhile my work allows me to get people closer to nature and experience its profound beauty. I hope I will be doing this for a long time.

We hope to meet him soon to tell us more about his works.