Architecturally integrated bunk beds: advice on materials and design
Architecturally integrated bunk beds: advice on materials and design
It’s a common misconception that bunk beds – which are sleeping spaces raised above ground level – are used exclusively for children’s and teens’ bedrooms. While bunk beds are a great solution for toddlers and older children, the practicality of bunk beds which provide ample sleeping space while saving floor space, makes them perfect for a variety of uses. ‘uses and applications. With an increase in density and the majority of people living in large urban centers using increasingly reduced living spaces, there has been a push towards modularity in interior design. For this reason, bunk beds and mezzanine sleeping areas have become a great solution to maximize square footage.
Besides making bedtime more fun, a bunk bed or loft bed allows for twice the same floor space, which is a very important feature for small spaces. A lower bunk could also be used as a daybed, or perhaps the space under a loft bed could be used as storage, a desk, or space for other furniture. Loft-style and stacked sleeping units can also be integrated into the architecture of a space in a variety of ways.
The following five examples show how stylish, well-designed and practical bunk beds and built-in loft bed units can be.
Tungestølen / Snøhetta hiking hut
Located in Luster – in the western part of Norway – on a small plateau overlooking the beautiful Jostedalen Glacier, Tungestølen comprises a constellation of pentagonal tourist cabins designed by Snøhetta for Luster Turlag, a local branch of the Norwegian National Trekking Association.
The constellation of nine sturdy pentagonal and oblique huts, made with glued laminated timber frames, covered with CLT sheets and clad in mineral pine, is able to withstand harsh weather conditions, both summer and winter.
At its highest, the ceiling measures 4.6 meters, creating a large space with a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. The integration of bunk beds in the cabin dormitories creates enough sleeping space to accommodate up to 50 visitors in the 9 cabins. The high ceiling height allows two floors of sleeping space to be comfortably integrated into the exterior wall in the form of an extrusion made from the same mineral pine that forms the interior lining of the cabin.
- While traditional bunk beds usually have a guardrail, Snøhetta uses strategies such as netting and raised covering elements to keep built-in bunks safe for sleeping.
- Using the same material for the bunks as the wall covering ensures the strength of the sleeping units while creating visual unity throughout the space – so the bunks appear to be an intentional part of the design.
Guadalupe River House / Low design office
One of Texas’ most popular rafting and tubing destinations, the Guadalupe River, a meandering waterscape that intertwines vacation properties with a floating park experience, provides the backdrop for this Low Design Office project. .
The intergenerational house is a compound dwelling consolidated in two rectangular shapes, turned according to the views of the river and the hundred-year-old trees. This rotation activates the living areas and niche porches through the interaction between common areas and private suites.
Serving both the older and younger generations, the house offers three bunk beds in the children’s area which are integrated directly into the structural frame of the room. Accessed by a ladder constructed of adjoining metal pipes, the wood-frame bunks create a solid and well-appointed sleeping and play space. Although the area is shared, each berth maintains a sense of privacy.
- Using timeless materials that reflect the home is a good starting point for designing a kid-friendly space that is both safe and entertaining without appearing youthful.
- While the bunks at Guadalupe River House are mostly closed, the geometrically shaped openings serve as a playful feature that also make the bunks less cavernous.
Villa Tonden / Hofman Dujardin
This wooden house in the Dutch wilderness, designed by HofmanDujardin, is equipped with all the necessary amenities for residents to enjoy a relaxing time with their family and friends. All the rooms of the house offer a breathtaking view of the surrounding natural landscape.
Villa Tonden is made up of three archetypal masses in the shape of a house. While the individual volumes translate into unique interior spaces with specific qualities, the use of sliding doors reinforces the transparent internal connections between them.
The children’s room has four corners of built-in bunk beds that provide a place on the floor to feel safe in the natural environment. Located in front of a large window, they overlook the woods and allow children to watch birds and deer from their beds.
- The bunks in Villa Tonden appear as openings in the wall. A fully enclosed sleeper unit can provide a sense of security and stability, without the use of guards or guardrails.
- Placing built-in bunks strategically so that they face a view (rather than a wall) can be a great way to minimize claustrophobia in closed units and create a pleasant sleeping space.
Yim Huai Khwang Hostel / Studio Supermachine
Yim Huai Khwang, named after the bustling district of Bangkok where the hostel is located, was previously a condominium sales office. A young couple bought the building, hoping to quit their 9-5-year-old job and start their own business – a small chain of hostels for travelers of all ages.
Designed by Supermachine Studio, the Inn is an exciting combination of different colors and materials. While hallways and reception areas explode with color and texture, the inn’s 16 guest rooms are kept simple by using white and natural wood colors to make the compact rooms feel spacious.
In the common sleeping area, 6 bunk beds are arranged in adjoining capsule-type units to add a little more privacy. Although completely enclosed, each spacious personal unit is equipped with a reading light and other personal equipment.
- Adding lighting to individual units is a practical consideration that makes the closed bunk look more like an actual room than a single bed.
- Placing an opening at the bottom of a fully enclosed bunk, rather than on the side, is safer and eliminates the problem of falling from upper levels.
La Cornette / YH2 Architecture
Built on the side of a small hill in rural Quebec, La Cornette is open to the bucolic landscape that surrounds it. This party and holiday house, designed for two families, is located in naturally hilly terrain so as to put each level in direct contact with the surrounding natural environment. It offers all guests a resting place under its large gable in a succession of unusual bedrooms and sleeping areas.
It is a playground for architects, children and adults, a summer camp lost in the countryside.
The sleeping spaces consist of wall-to-wall beds where residents can sleep foot to foot, and overhanging bunk beds floating in the landscape. Unlike typical stacked units which are divided and placed separately from traditional sleeping spaces in a home, the beds and bunks are placed in a single formation.
- While outdoor formations such as this offer less privacy, they can also offer the unlimited comfort of sleeping in a traditional bed.
- Playing with the geometry and layout of the bunks can create a lot of visual excitement in a room.
Find more interesting examples in This folder.