Maidla Nature Villa KÄBI design, b210 Estonian Architecture Photos, New Rapla County hotel building

Maidla Nature Villa KÄBI, Estonia

6 November 2022

Tiny villa-hotel inspired by conifer cones now nominated for the Estonian Architecture Awards

Design: architects Mari Hunt and Arvi Anderson (b210)

Location: Maidla manor, Maidla village, Rapla county, Estonia

Maidla Nature Villa KÄBI, Rapla, Estonia

Photos © Tõnu Tunnel

Maidla Nature Villa KÄBI

KÄBI reflects the words of the grand old man of Estonian design Bruno Tomberg: “The forest is my cathedral”

MAIDLA, Estonia – Located on the grounds of Maidla’s historic 15th century manor but hidden away from sight, a new nutshell-sized hotel in the middle of picturesque wetlands recently opened – and has already been nominated for the 2022 Annual Architecture Award of The Estonian Cultural Endowment.

Maidla Nature Villa KÄBI, Rapla, Estonia

Everything one might expect from a comfortable and inspiring stay has been fitted onto 38 m2 by architects Mari Hunt and Arvi Anderson (b210). Design choices stem from local timber building traditions but the result offers a striking and very contemporary look one might not expect to encounter while strolling the forests.

b210 Estonia building design

The project – called KÄBI, ‘conifer cone’ in Estonian – started from a brief of providing guests with a quiet and peaceful place to escape from the urban-driven world, a comforting hub in nature where visitors would be driven by surroundings to contemplate the fragility of the nature around us.

Maidla Nature Villa KÄBI, Rapla, Estonia

The intention is to offer comfort, but not by shutting people inside and away from the nature they came to explore: rather to create a space that flows smoothly from outside to inside. KÄBI provides a pocket of warmth – a necessity in Northern climate with its chilly springs and snowy, freezing winters – that still keeps you immersed in the surrounding natural forest and riverbank wetlands.

Rapla County building site in woods

According to Mari Hunt, one of the architects of the villa, working on KÄBI allowed her to explore links between innovation and tradition in architecture: “One of the details I’d really like the visitors to notice is the layered wood shake siding, in Estonian, ‘kimm’. This ancient wooden roof cover technique can still be spotted on some of the oldest local rural saunas and cottages, but might be still familiar to visitors from Europe and Northern America, too.

Rapla County hotel building

Shake roofs have been making a comeback in Estonia, with it being recognised as a more-climate friendly building choice. We decided to employ it not on the roof where it would be out of sight, but on interior and exterior walls, creating a wooden armour which ended up inspiring the name of the villa, because the layered scales look quite a bit like a giant conifer cone from a distance. All the 7500 shakes used on the walls of KÄBI were custom-made specially for this house by a local timber detail company – we want the house to be a bit of a celebration of the local craftsmanship and building tradition.”

Rapla County hotel building by b210 in Estonia

KÄBI awaits guests hidden in a nook of birch trees at the end of a meandering footpath leading from Maidla’s old manor quarter. A creative blend of old and new, celebrating both, and in dialogue with the surrounding local nature – is what both the whole Maidla nature villa project and KÄBI individually stand for.

b210 Estonian Architecture Rapla County plan

The site is developing at a calm pace – a year ago, Maidla’s first forest hotel villa KASEKE opened, with KÄBI and POKU (latter by KTA Architects) joining the lineup this year. Reminiscent of the Treehotel in Sweden, each house at Maidla has its own unique character, providing the many returning guests with new spatial experiences each year.

b210 Estonian hotel building

KÄBI is intended for only 1-2 visitors at a time and is placed away from other buildings, offering privacy. In winter and spring, views from the villa open towards the river in the distance. In summer, as lush greenery takes over, the accommodation becomes more intimate and hidden. Untouched nature is becoming more and more of a luxury in a world where 75% of people already live in cities: an experience of solitude in nature, of the meditative space nature so easily provides, is something to treasure.

Rapla County hotel building by b210

The house was built with utmost care onto the edge of a wetland, a fine sample of how to not disrupt the surrounding nature, but rather exploit all available technology to be as gentle as possible.

Rapla County hotel building Estonia

Maidla is happy to welcome architecture, design and travel journalists to see KÄBI and our other houses, but all visits must be planned in advance as the villas cannot be accessed when in use.

b210 Estonia design elevation

The team behind designing and running KÄBI has also received news of another award jury having noticed this little gem, so keep an eye on any of our our social media channels in November, for more announcements.

Maidla Nature Villa KÄBI, Rapla, Estonia

b210 is an architecture office with a think tank approach to everyday spatial challenges. They believe that positive change in the built environment is driven by a smart design process where architectural ideas are as important as methods of developing them, and b210 likes to design ways of thinking as much as physical spaces.

Maidla Nature Villa KÄBI, Rapla, Estonia by b210

Maidla Nature Villa KÄBI, Estonia – Building Information

Location: Maidla manor, Maidla village, Rapla county, Estonia
Architecture: Mari Hunt, co-author Arvi Anderson (b210 architects)
Engineering: Laur Lõvi
Builder: Otto Ehitab
Client: Maidla Nature Resort –

Film on YouTube

Photos: Tõnu Tunnel

Maidla Nature Villa KÄBIa Estonia images / information received 051122

Location: Maidla manor, Maidla village, Rapla county, Estonia, eastern Europe

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