Imagine hiking through the greenery around Bordeaux, France, and coming upon a magical little house in the shape of three owls. We’re guessing you’d want to stay awhile, and that’s the point. Les Guetteurs (The Watchers) is one of six oddball, off-grid huts in the Refuges Périurbains (Peri-urban shelters), a program intended to draw curious guests to discover new areas on the edge of the city (a similar project has also taken hold just outside of Copenhagen.)
Designed by Candice Pétrillo and constructed by the French workshop Zébra3/Buy-Sellf, the building was made to resemble a group of small, ground-nesting owls that live in the wetlands around the structure. From the exterior, the timber building looks like a huddle of three owls, their eyes made of large round windows and feathers made from long strips of bent plywood and shorter plywood shingles.
"The idea of birds came to me very quickly,” said designer Candice Pétrillo. “After the last extension of the commercial zone, I saw migrants swirling around in the sky, looking for the old dried wetland. The nod of animal eye and the curve of the object are a tribute to the sculptors François Pompon and François-Xavier Lalanne."
Inside, a faceted plywood interior offers three levels of sleeping areas outfitted with nine round, nest-like mattresses. You can book free stays at the cabins here.