ROCK THE SHACK   The Architecture of Cabins, Cacoons and Hide-Outs


The way we define a good living or nice homemaking has changed considerably. ‘Luxury lies in the simple things. The novelty of breath of fresh air, an unobstructed view, or the rare moment od silence gain added value the more our urban lives distance us from our rural origins’ – that’s how Sofia Borges starts her introduction.

The editors - Sven Ehmann, Robert Klanten and Sofia Borges present amazing selection of cabins, tree houses, studios, second homes, shelters, cottages, coccons, pavilions from all around the world (Japan, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, USA, Skandinavien, Spain, Switzerland, France, there are also quite a few examples from Germany). They all differ style-wise and range from basic to luxury. Some function as weekend houses, others as regular homes. Some are fixed, others mobile. Most of them very remote from civilisation serving as brilliant hideouts, retreats for relaxing, solution for our growing hunger for engaging with nature. Texts describing each building are concise but what else do you need if you have truly stunning photos emphasising the diversity of all secluded spots. The general views show how well the buildings sit in the environment and the images of interiors invite us to see how nice it must be to live inside. Both the presentation and the hideouts are breathtaking. Each page, nicely designed and beautifully illustrated, sensational. The selection has been divided into 4 thematic parts – Skies wide open presenting structures merging with the terrain they have been build on; Timberland demonstrates private houses, hotel rooms and some tree houses; the third part - Above it all ‘showcases buildings that relish the bird’s eye view’ and finally Down by the waterline features projects embracing the idea of living on the sea’s shore. 

The authors speak about moving away from consumerism, learning to want less and claim that ‘the revival of cabin, shack and rustic hut demonstrates the power and value of leaving things behind’. This is partly true, as many of the presented examples, even if modest, require a significant amount of money. Another issue is that for many people they would be used as second homes only for temporary breaks in everyday routine. On the other hand – whatever can bring us closer to the nature, even if only for a short while, is worth trying in pursuit to inner balance. It will certainly help us experience stronger living in space that is not disconnected from the exterior but also tighten the relations between those who participate in homemaking. The book is perfect for the end of the summer – when for most of us the holidays are over and we have to return to our daily routines. All who wish to follow going back to simple life and contemplating nature, should also reach for the classic text by Henry David Thoreau, by the way also quoted by the authors, ‘Walden; or, Life in the Woods’.  

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – great news for all who fall in love with leafing through ‘Rock the Shack’ – it will have a follow up! ‘Hide and Seek’ will be released in a couple of weeks and will present even more extraordinary and astonishing hideouts. I’m happy to present you a sneak peek of the new publication, which will continue on investigating the revival of architecture cultivating the relationship with nature. Both publications are so phenomenal that you’ll start dreaming of running away!

 ROCK THE SHACK. The Architecture of Cabins, Cacoons and Hide-Outs, 
ed. Sven Ehmann, Robert Klanten and Sofia Borges, Gestalten

 All images courtesy of the Publisher - from Rock the Shack and Hide and Seek, Copyright Gestalten 2014