Marfa, you little minx. Just when we thought you were out of surprises, you come up with something that makes us love you all the more.
Marfa, Texas, was destined to be a funky desert town in the proverbial middle of nowhere. Or, to those of us who have a soft spot for such places, the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. Once a water stop for the railroad, then a military training ground, Marfa should have been a place to disappear: a necessary supplier of basic society for hermits and misanthropes.
Apparently, nobody told Marfa about that destiny. It’s certainly quirky, and there are likely at least a few hermits and misanthropes around town, but Marfa has evolved into a compelling, cultural West Texas outpost.
First, there are the mysterious Marfa Lights: basketball-sized balls of fire that streak across the horizon. They’ve been recorded since 1883 and some of the world’s finest physicists have proposed theories as to what causes them. The beautiful thing is that we still don’t know. They remain a good, old fashioned moment of awe, courtesy of nature.
Then the artists moved to town in 1970s. Inspired by the starkness of the landscape, Marfa produced – and still cultivates – a strong minimalism movement in the art world. Two of those artists pranked the world with the permanent “sculpture” exhibit we all recognize as the fake “Prada Marfa” store.
Now, Marfa is home to a wave of minimalist, environmentally sound homes. The Marfa weeHouse was designed by Alchemy, a Minnesota-based architecture firm that pioneered this particular style of tiny (and not-so tiny) home. While Alchemy designs traditional homes as well, they’ve broken down the art and construction of weeHouses into an easy, straightforward process not often seen in fine architecture. Reading the transparent website description of ordering a weeHouse is almost as refreshing as checking out the house itself.
The Marfa weeHouse is 440 square-feet of horizon-watching relaxation. It’s fully-livable with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a full-sized kitchen. And with floor-to-ceiling windows on opposite sides of the home, it’s perfect for watching the rare thunderstorm roll across the open horizon, or catch the even more rare Marfa Lights as they endeavor to keep a little mystery in this world.
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.