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Tall Architects wraps X-shaped Alabama cabin in black metal


US studio Tall Architects has created a cabin that has two stacked gabled forms that are rotated into an X-shape and clad in corrugated metal near a river in southern Alabama.

Known as Fowl River Cabin, the 2,100-square foot (195-square metre) residence was completed in 2023 in Theodore, Alabama – a small community along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Living room within Fowl River Cabin
Alabama forms the site for Fowl River Cabin

“When looking at the site and analysing the client’s goals for the project, we knew that the siting of the building and the way it interacted with the river and trees was going to be just as crucial as the design itself,” the Tall Architects team told Dezeen.

The studio – run by partners Madison and Mark Talley in Ocean Springs, Mississippi – carefully analysed the site to accommodate existing trees, views of the river, access to the water and nearby buildings and to create a residence that respects the site and its natural features.

X-shaped home by Tall Architects
Tall Architects designed the X-shaped building with corrugated metal cladding

The house is elevated four feet above the ground – as mandated by local codes and flood elevation regulations – on six-inch round steel columns.

Atop the supports sit two gabled forms clad in black corrugated metal, which was selected to help the building “disappear within the landscape while providing a connection to nature at every turn.”

Black corrugated metal facade
The cladding was made from recycled material

The exterior cladding was selected for its cost efficiency, ease of installation, and ability to withstand hurricane-force winds and rain, which are common in the area.

Made from recycled material, the cladding can also be unscrewed for repair or reuse.

Black rectilinear cabin by Tall Architects
The cabin is elevated four feet above the ground

“To clad a building in a single material, the form needed to be strong enough so that the end product didn’t read as one-note,” the team noted.

“We believe that by creating unique angles and shadows, the building feels dynamic from every angle.”

Staircase within Tall Architects-designed cabin
Public areas are located in the lower bar of the house

“The building, while not large, offers complex spaces both inside and out that allow the owners to flow from interior to exterior seamlessly throughout the day,” the studio said.

The lower bar holds the public areas of the house with an open-plan living, dining, and kitchen taking up most of the area. A suite comprises the northwest end of the bar.

A central core and staircase sit within the crossing of the X. Meanwhile, the off-centred upper storey contains two suites and a porch.

The upstairs cantilever creates an enclosed porch on the north side of the house that connects to an angular deck that wraps around existing trees.

Central white staircase
A central core and staircase sit within the crossing of the X

On the interior, the material selection was driven by the owner Jill Dupre, who selected a palette that was light, bright and airy with natural wood flooring, white paint and metallic details to contrast the moody exterior.

In terms of thermal cooling, the arrangement of the spaces and windows allows for natural cross-ventilation, and the elevated foundation allows cool air to flow underneath the building, as well as around it.

The off-centered upper storey contains two suites

Additionally, solar panels are mounted on a portion of the southern-facing roof on the first floor and the western-facing roof of the second floor.

Other black-clad cabins completed recently include a gabled woodland cabin in the Basque Country by BABELstudio and a linear cabin for three families in Oklahoma by Far + Dang.

The photography is by Andrew Welch.

Project credits:

Architecture: Tall Architects
Interiors: Jill Dupre
Structural engineer: Simpkins & Costelli, Inc.
Contractor: C. Roberds General Contractors


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