Design In Architecture: The Back Country Hut

Tiny houses come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space. See why people are embracing this movement.

By Judith Stapleton

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In the First World, the Tiny House Movement is a social transition—a change of expectations about the amount of space you will occupy. This design is not for everyone. It takes a bit of a rebel and a change-maker because, in fact, it is a subtle act of civil disobedience. Most designs are not afraid to buck the trend and take tangible steps to live in a manner that is more affordable and sustainable in the face of a massive culture of consumerism.

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“A typical North American home is around 2,600 square feet, versus a smaller home with a size only between 100 and 400 square feet.”

Tiny home design come in all shapes, sizes, and forms, but they enable simpler living in a smaller, more efficient space.

An offshoot of the Leckie Architecture Studio in Vancouver, The Backcountry Hut Company follows in the footsteps inspired by IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, to make affordable and well-designed products “for the many people.” Backcountry Hut has designed a turnkey option to small footprint housing with its prefabricated, flat-packed delivered system that is easy to assemble, scalable if your needs expand, and requires minimal site preparation.

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The hut system is a kit that includes an engineered wood post and a beam skeleton infilled with prefabricated panels. Volunteers lift the wall and roof panels by hand hoisting a pulley and winch system. A 10-feet structural module adds a set of increments combined to increase the floor area. Additional sleeping quarters and living space is mostly recommended to accommodate an expanding family.


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This design of a hut system is deployed on any site that is accessible by truck or helicopter. There are a range of possibilities for interior fit-out options and exterior finishes. You can go rustic or you can go chic. The possibilities for location are limitless, and the size can evolve with your needs. These optional inserts make the building completely autonomous for real backcountry hideaways or a perch on the edge-of-the-cliff. The building can be virtually off-the-grid. Let us say something here about value. 

The basic hut design is rustic and simple in nature, designed for durability and security against weather with a metal-clad shell engineered to last 50+ years. The simple form affords simple construction. You don’t need to hire a crew if you have able and willing friends to volunteer as your construction team. There is a Lego-like (or IKEA-like) assembly. There is passive cooling through ventilation in the roof. At various altitudes, the photovoltaic panels are on the façade at mid-latitudes of 45-degrees on the roof.

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Economy and conservation material and energy produce the assembly of building components achieved through the prefabrication process. Site preparation requires neither heavy machinery or disruption of the site.

Environmentally sensitive products are used for all materials: engineered wood products, FSC certified lumber, 100% recyclable components, and the Backcountry Hut Company is underpinned by a zero-waste philosophy in the design and implementation of all its products.

There is truly no better time to plan an outdoor getaway like now.

Publisher’s Note: Judith Stapleton is a writer in the fields of science and medicine.

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