From urban biking to landlords, kitchens, and even shopping at Ikea, modern humans have no shortage of stressors. But researchers in Sweden are testing out a novel approach to curing anxiety: tiny glass houses.
The 72 Hour Cabin project goes something like this: Take five very stressed out people, send them to live for three days in glass-walled cabins in the Swedish wilderness, and see how their mental health is affected. True, the sample size is small. And the cabins look a little too Instagram-ready to be purely scientific. But the program is being overseen by researchers Walter Osika and Cecilia Stenfors from the Karolinska Institute, a medical university, in Stockholm.
Oskia and Stenfors are hoping to observe the impact of a concept called Allemansrätten (freedom to roam) on mental health. Admittedly, it’s also a bit of a stunt on the part of the Swedish tourism board, who are eager to promote Allemansrätten and the country’s “close to nature lifestyle.”
But, anyway, the cabins look lovely. Designed by student architect Jeanna Berger, the glass houses are made with simple, elevated timber frames faced on both ends with vertical planks. The peaked roof and walls are made of glass. Each tiny cabin contains just a bed and a hanging lantern. No wifi. No kitchen. No stress?
“I was raised on Henriksholm and I wanted to somehow pay homage to typically Dalsland nature settings,” wrote Berger. “From the very beginning I decided that the house would stand on pillars so that it did not leave a permanent footprint on the environment. I also like to think that the people who will live in them share the same approach to nature. We want to live in natural settings but leave as small a footprint as possible.”