Contemporary Cabins — Escape. Peace. Relaxation. A walk in the wilderness. These virtues have driven us to build cabins in the forest, on the lake and in the mountains for centuries. Unlike your grandfather’s cabin, the next generation of wilderness cottages are modern in design and execution. These 10 contemporary cabins represent some of the most inventive works of cabin architecture available today. From a glass cabin in Finland to a forest bungalow in Sri Lanka, these cabins are the wilderness retreats that we city dwellers can only dream of.
Glass Garden Shed by Ville Hara and Linda Bergroth
Deep in the wilderness of Finland, a tiny glass cottage overlooks a peaceful lake and the forest beyond. The Glass Garden Shed by Ville Hara and Linda Bergroth is a dream by design. It features a pitched glass roof and three glass walls that provide an intimate connection with the environment around it. While its shape is traditional, inspired by the garden sheds of old, its material and metaphor make this a decidedly contemporary cabin. [read more: 10 Glass Houses: Where the Beauty of the World Is Your Wallpaper.]
Glass Garden Shed by Ville Hara and Linda Bergroth | Gallery
[photography by arsi ikäheimonen]
Studio for a Composer for Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Creative people are driven to contemporary cabins for two common virtues — a desire for peace and the freedom from distractions. This contemporary studio is built into the landscape of rural Wisconsin for a country western composer, a studio for songwriting and audio recording in the forest. It comprises a large rectangular form, clad with weathered steel on a concrete base, with space indoors for the musician and his voice. Despite the hard contemporary lines of the Studio for a Composer, this work by Johnsen Schmaling Architects allows the nature around this cabin to be its raw, organic emotional focus.
Studio for a Composer for Johnsen Schmaling Architects | Gallery
Mirror Cube at TreeHotel Sweden
On its own, this contemporary cabin could qualify as one of the most unusual dwellings in the world. It is a cube of mirrors, measuring 4m x 4m x 4m, perched above the pine floor in a Swedish forest. It is the Mirrorcube at TreeHotel Sweden, a boutique lodging development featuring some of the world’s strangest treehouse cabins. This one is clad in a reflective surface on all sides, mirroring the pine forest around it in all directions. Inside, it is clean and contemporary, providing one of the most unique overnight camping experiences in the world. [read more: Treehouse Design: 10 Brilliant Topiary Masterpieces]
Mirror Cube at TreeHotel Sweden | Gallery
Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects
On the other side of the globe, a contemporary cabin on rails positions itself on a dune overlooking the ocean. The Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects is more than meets the eye, a 40-sqm. cabin with windows and walls that fold shut to hide the dwelling inside. When the hut’s family of five arrives, these shutters are cranked open to expose a comfortable contemporary home. It is built to withstand the elements and keep itself safe when the family is away, but open to the world around it when in use.
Hut on Sleds by Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects | Gallery
Sri Lanka Forest Bungalow by Narein Perera
A structure of steel and wood rise high above a rubber plantation in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Forest Bungalow by Narein Perera is perched on the plantation’s edge where the plot makes a steep decline. In the distance, a natural forest sweeps across the valley below the bungalow, providing a picturesque vista for the occupant’s enjoyment. Despite the contemporary inspiration of this cabin, the materials include little more than steel beams, wood floors and walls and a steel roof above. At the peak of the bungalow, a large open space invites the occupants to gather and share the experience of the view beyond.
Sri Lanka Forest Bungalow by Narein Perera | Gallery
Tree Snake House by Luis and Tiago Rebelo Andrade
A pair of private cottages in Portugal extend outward over a deep, sloping forest plot. The Tree Snake House by Luis and Tiago Rebelo Andrade are designed to appear like their reptilian namesake. These snake-like structures feature a long “body” bridge that connects the entrance to the cabin “head”. The living space is lifted above the forest floor, providing a place of peaceful reflection and a window into the breezy trees beyond. The design is inventive and interpretive, and the result is a dreamy personal escape.
Tree Snake House by Luis and Tiago Rebelo Andrade | Gallery
Olson Kundig Architects Gulf Island Cabin
Between Vancouver and Seattle, a small contemporary cabin provides a rustic experience in an island forest. Olson Kundig Architects Gulf Island Cabin has the rustic charm of a traditional cabin, but the design sensibility of modern architecture. It features a large weathered-steel panel that encloses its front side, keeping it safe when not in use. When its occupant arrives, it opens to feature a clear view of the environment around it, and all the space its owner really needs in a simple one-room design.
Olson Kundig Architects Gulf Island Cabin | Gallery
[photography: Tim Bies]
Green Box Overgrown Wilderness Studio
An abandoned garage has been reinvented as a new garden cottage, the Green Box Overgrown Wilderness Studio. It’s not the stone, metal and glass construction of the Green Box that characterizes its allure, but the thick greenery growing around it. The Green Box cabin is overgrown with vines, bushes and flowering plants that cover its sides and green roof. From afar, Green Box appears to be a small hill or a growth of trees. Up close, or when its inside is illuminated, its true form becomes apparent. It is an inventive way to create privacy, and a great use of an old space that had fallen into disrepair.
Green Box Overgrown Wilderness Studio | Gallery
Lakefront Sauna by Panorama Arquitectos
The temperate climate of central Chile makes for cool evenings and mild winters, but that doesn’t stop this Chilean from enjoying the local nature. The Lakefront Sauna by Panorama Arquitectos provides a hot place to relax overlooking a Chilean lake. A simple stove heats the Lakefront Sauna for long, casual visits. Its angular, wood-lined shape is inviting to is guests. It feels like a natural fit in the sloping landscape over the lake below, a warm place to escape during cool Chilean nights.
Lakefront Sauna by Panorama Arquitectos | Gallery
[photographer: nicolás valdés]
Fogo Island Studio by Saunders Architecture
One of the most celebrated wilderness studios is a part of an ongoing artist residence project on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. The Fogo Island Long Studio by Saunders Architecture is one of many on the island, but perhaps the island’s most architecturally significant. This studio was built over the rocky shore of the island, providing a distant, private and peaceful escape for writers, artists and others to spend time alone with their craft. The Fogo Island Studios are one of our favorite architectural projects in recent years, and the studio by Saunders Architecture is the pearl of this untouched island. It is a success in design, one that opens the imagination to the way we as humans could live in the wilderness around us.
Fogo Island Long Studio by Saunders Architecture | Gallery
Contemporary Cabins – Additional Reading
I hope we have inspired a bit of cabinlust in you, dear reader. We have plenty more on our Pinterest Board Wilderness Studios, and are always sharing new updates like these on facebook and twitter. If you enjoy this kind of thing as much as we do, I imagine you’ll enjoy these similar feature articles as well: