The Sunset Cabin on the shore of Lake Simcoe, in Ontario, was built in a parking lot. No joke. It took four weeks to put it together, de-assemble, and reassemble the house in situ beside the lake. Such is the beauty of the latest pre-fabricated housing wave: quick, good for delicate sites, and beautiful in final form.
For the advance time spent in planning and design, months can be deducted on the flip side for post-build site rehabilitation. The Sunset Cabin could essentially be plunked in place (easy for us to say!) with minimal landscape disturbance. Plus, there’s the benefit of an instantly “mature” landscape. It helps that the footprint is relatively small. The cabin is intended only for hanging out, watching the sunset, and sleeping. There is an outdoor shower and chemical toilet adjacent.
Strategically placed cedar slats surround three walls of windows to filter the sunlight and somewhat obscure sight of the cabin, without compromising views from the inside out. A living roof of sedum and grasses serves as an effective insulator and a camouflage from houses located up the hill. The monochrome birch-paneled interior, while beautiful in its own right, doesn’t compete for attention with the 270-degree views of Lake Simcoe.
The Sunset Cabin was designed by Taylor Smyth Architects, an Ontario-based firm. Front and center in their mission is to design houses that “…delight, uplift, and engage.” Mission accomplished.
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.
Photos by Taylor Smyth Architects