A lot of architects put a lot of lip service to “bringing the outdoors in” and “building at one with nature.” That’s all fine and good, not to mention noble in most cases. But if you live in 100+ degree temps of the desert Southwest, the last thing you want in a shelter is to let that hot air inside. As for the aesthetics of the venture, whatever happened to fitting in with the surroundings, instead of building a box that looks natural only from the inside out?
The Last Hurrah Cabin, southwest of Moab, Utah, does a chameleon-worthy job of blending in to the red rock country hillside, and delivers a desert getaway that is resource-wise and off the grid.
Zoom by the Last Hurrah Cabin on a fast horse and you just might miss it if you’re not paying attention. Nestled into a slope that rises above the Colorado River, the 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom house was designed to be the exact opposite of an architectural “attention grabber.” That’s not to say it isn’t a showpiece; it just honors the landscape more in form, color and materials, than in words.
To be fair, the view of the house from the river is the most obscured. Other views are less camouflaged. Still, with the use of rusted metal and simple lines, the architects at Land + Shelter of Carbondale, Colorado, gave the cabin a look of an old miner’s shed from different sides. It’s a design nod to the human history of the area.
Located – duh – on Hurrah Pass, about six miles due east of Dead Horse Point as the raven flies, with views overlooking the Colorado River, the cabin doesn’t see much traffic. That, perhaps, is what makes it even cooler. The owners could have plunked a Tudor style mansion in those hills without much feedback. Instead, they went the route of subtlety, and honored the desert rocks that provide the appeal in the first place.
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 courtesy Land + Shelter