Obsessed With Cabins? You’re Not Alone

published Aug 20, 2018
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(Image credit: Sam Barkwell)

A 2016 Lonely Planet article labeled cabins in the wilderness as the latest travel trend, but a new exhibit in the Vancouver Art Gallery proves that the undying enthusiasm people have for the rustic, remote dwellings goes far beyond being a fad. There’s no question that our collective obsession with cabins–whether modern, tiny, or remodeled–has stood the test of time, but “Cabin Fever” seeks to answer the why and the how.

(Image credit: Dorothea Lange)

Exploring the popular, storied abode “as much a cultural construct as it is an enduring architectural form,” the Cabin Fever exhibit features various artworks in the form of photography, architectural models, drawings and full-scale cabins and structural fragments, as well as plans, historical document and literature that depict the evolution of the North American cabin. The exhibit divides the cultural significance and history of the cabin into three main themes: Shelter, Utopia, and Porn.

“Tracing the evolution of the cabin in North America, we can better understand how it has become an enduring typology in architectural practice,” writes the Vancouver Art Gallery of Cabin Fever. “Not only has the cabin survived in various forms and iterations, but it also has resonated deeply in our cultural psyche. In this exhibition, the cabin will be explored through three main themes: Shelter, which introduces the cabin as a practical and provisional solution to patterns of westward expansion and emergency relief; Utopia, which examines the cabin as the ideal locale to practice introspection or to escape the conventions of society; and Porn, which positions the cabin as an idea fully integrated into popular culture.”

(Image credit: Jesse Kuroiwa)

Among the featured artists and architects highlighted in this artistic tribute to cabins are Frank Lloyd Wright, Dorothea Lange, Henry David Thoreau, Canadian studio UUfie, Urs Peter Flueckiger, Liz Magor, Andrew Geller and many more.

Cabin Fever is open now and runs through Sept. 30. Tickets and more information are available on Vancouver Art Gallery’s website.