Weekend Cabin: Rest Area, Lofoten, Norway

Shelter in the Landscape (working title) / Kinderhook House

It’s late, near midnight, and in the Arctic twilight your eyes blink and blur. You pull off one of Norwegian’s flawless winding ribbons of two-lane connectedness and roll up to a modern little building. It’s a cafe, perhaps. No, it’s a cabin. Nooo-oooo, it’s a toilet.

Over the last decade or so, Norway has been investing its riches in strikingly forward examples of public architecture — pullouts, viewpoints, kiosks, and, yes, bathrooms — that at their best embody the questions posed by Weekend Cabin: how we choose to build structures that interact with the landscape. Some of Norway’s roadside projects are subtle, some not, but all are bold in their vision and linked by an assertion that forces you to look. The industrial bluntness of some of these small buildings might cause a reflexive “ugh,” but their broader mandate is to make you look, and in doing, make you see. How many toilets do you know that can do that?

Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite. To see more weekend cabins, visit the Weekend Cabin channel page.

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