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When I was a kid, my family cabin was broken into twice – and the place was a bit of a dump. The temptation for dirtbags to crack a window on a nice spot, like the False Bay Writer’s Cabin, would be exponentially higher, so the owners charged architect Olson Kundig with finding a solution to secure the building when they’re gone.

The answer is a series of 10-foot shutter-walls that drop down when inhabited and can be tilted up to close the cabin lock tight. As Olson Kundig describes it:

The cabin is basically a glass house surrounded by three wooden slat decks and topped with an inverted hip roof with deep overhangs. Through a system of hydraulic winches, wire rope, pivoting sheaves and lead blocks, these decks can be raised to serve as shutters, completely closing off the cabin. Open, the shutter-decks are outdoor living space, connecting to the interior with 10 foot tall windows and sliding doors. The south shutter-deck can be opened independently of the other two, and an interior fireplace can rotate 180 degrees to be enjoyed from the exterior. The inverted roof forces water to drain to the rear of the cabin, eliminating a drip edge on the shutter-decks.

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Square footage is a modest 500 feet, with most of it in the glassed space and a small bathroom and kitchen in the rear, behind steel walls. On the back of the cabin, unseen, is a custom rack for the owner’s kayaks.

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Photos by Tom Bies


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.


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