ISSUE 50  |  Feeling Festivus

Required Reading: 61 Cabins to Lust For

December 18, 2014 7:30 PM

BY Cheryl Locke

Since Thoreau decamped to Walden Pond, our desire to live a solitary life has only intensified. In Cabins,  published by Taschen last month, author Philip Jodidio fuels our lust with 61 case studies of back-to-basics living. There is a futuristic tiny home from Renzo Piano, designed for off-the-grid living in the event of a disaster. There are fishermen’s huts on the water in Portugal. An eco-pod that can be theoretically dropped in any location, by Barcelona architect firm In-Tenta. Shelters for writers, bird-watchers, wilderness survivalists; lightweight armchair poet-philosophers (glampers, we are talking to you).

Whether you’re building a cabin in the woods or just dreaming of one, the book offers plenty of inspiration. Get ideas for small footprints, reclaimed materials, and ways to unplug. Like a travel brochure, each chapter opens with a pastel, stylized illustration by Parisian graphic designer Marie-Laure Crushi. Jodidio then takes the reader on a tour, with architect in tow, to discuss views, vignettes, and design principles. 

Photography via Cabins.

Above: One of our favorites is an off-the-grid home in Vancouver Island from Scott & Scott Architects, intended for uninterrupted snowboarding. The structure is built on stilts to avoid machine excavation, after heavy snowfalls. 

There is no running water or electricity (a wood stove provides heat). In the remote town of Port Hardy, the northern end of Vancouver Island, snow covers the gravel road five months of the year. Provisions arrive on site on toboggans. And if you’re wondering, there is no WiFi.

Above: Gray cedar cladding on the exterior merges harmoniously with the surrounding woods.

Above: The 100-square-meter interior has two levels, including a sauna on the ground floor, and two bedrooms and den upstairs. Walls are planed down, and in contrast to the rough-hewn Douglas fir trunks, taken from nearby. Furnishings are spartan, to make room for the view, visible through expansive windows. 

Above: Cabins is part of the Architecture Now! series, which includes Green Buildings, Tree Houses, and Temporary Spaces.

For more of our favorite cabins, see: