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The Nook: A sustainable retreat based on the wigwam


May 19, 2014

Designer Antony Gibbon drew upon the wigwam for inspiration while designing the Nook

Designer Antony Gibbon drew upon the wigwam for inspiration while designing the Nook

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Native American tribes long used the wigwam as a semi-permanent shelter, and similar dome-shaped huts consisting of a simple framework covered in material serve as home for some African nomadic peoples even today. It makes sense then, that Antony Gibbon drew upon the enduring wigwam for inspiration while designing the Nook: a modern sustainable retreat that can be installed in difficult terrains, and can even float on water.

The Nook is billed as an alternative to a small cabin and can serve as a home studio, office, workshop, hotel chalet, or perhaps even a tiny house. As standard, the structure measures 6 m (20 ft) in diameter, and 3.7 m (12 ft) high, though Gibbon is happy to adjust these dimensions to suit. The designer has also envisioned a larger version that sports a second floor.

To this writer, the actual shape of the Nook looks a little more like a teepee than a classic domed wigwam, but the designer cites the wigwam as inspiration – and a teepee is only a temporary tent-like shelter after all – so let's not quibble over ancient nomadic dwellings.

The Nook comprises a wooden frame, covered in slatted wooden panels, which Gibbon hopes to source from whichever area it is to be installed. The wooden panels are angled to keep out the rain, and are operable in some sections, opening to allow natural ventilation.

If being used as an office, the Nook can sport a desk and shutters, and it can also be outfitted with toilet and shower, and bed. The roof is made from several sections of glass, so should let in plenty of natural light.

Gibbon informed Gizmag that the Nook is suitable for use on difficult terrain, and it can be installed on slopes, costal areas, and forests. It can even float on calm shallow water, thanks to recycled containers which have been placed underneath and serve as a pontoon.

The Nook is still a concept at present, so further practical details have not been ironed out yet. However, Gibbon also told us that he hopes to see it manufactured, and future ideas for the design include the option to operate fully off-grid, using sustainable technology such as solar power, and a composting toilet.

Source: Antony Gibbon Designs

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Insect heaven. Picture it a few months later, wearing it's coat of spider-silk.


I think that is really nice. I like the idea that one can adapt it to whatever wants or needs. I think it has a lot of potential.

I would be screens on the windows. I seem to draw bugs / insects that like to munch on me. :)


"not quibble over....nomadics"?

Ummm, it's not nomadic anymore.

If it floats,etc.,sure.

But in those pix?

I have lived with the Navajo - there is a reason they used round log cabins (Hogans)and migrate seasonally between them.


Bugs are not a problem in the High Desert- 20 foot snow drifts and extended sub-zero F weather are Life&Death.

So,names aside, I'd say that this is is more a thing of beauty for limited outdoor usage that is more generally inspired by the architecture of Tribal people but not practically equivalent to the mobility and durability of their dwellings.

Personally, I'd like to see it floating.

Yurts are more practical- Modern yurts are STILL among the most efficient housing designs ever developed&used.

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