So, Jimmy, you ever stay in a grain silo? How about a cow shed?
Nearly 20 years ago, the community of Hopetoun, in Victoria, Australia, came together and worked with architect James Brearley to develop tourism infrastructure near the shore of Lake Lascelles. Rather naturally inspired by Australia’s traditional ranching vernacular, including most prominently the distinctive corrugated tin walls of the outback, Brearley drafted a plan for housing that was pieced together in stages, using reclaimed, repurposed, and remodeled farm structures, with the third now complete.
Called the Mallee Bush Retreat, it includes 33 beds in two silos, two (former) cow sheds, stables, two machine sheds, and a limestone grain store. A former shearing shed serves as the communal dining hall, with tables, fireplace, and television. The amenities are minimal, but so is the cost: just $15 Australian a night (about $14 U.S.). And if cow sheds aren’t your thing, you can camp for free along the lake and still use the facilities.
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.