Seven houses in the wilderness of North America

Living in the immense landscapes between vernacular and contemporary design, from Wyoming to Canada to Upstate New York, in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau.

Henry David Thoreau was well aware of this when he chose to live for a period of his life in a cabin in the middle of the woods on the shores of Lake Walden, Massachusetts: living in secluded places far from urban congestion, where one can live a simple life and experience an intimate relationship with Nature, is one of the ways to reconcile with oneself and the world.

If this is possible wherever there is an existential restlessness or intolerance towards living in society, the presence of vast and wild territories is an even more powerful call to silence the voice of one’s demons or even just, more prosaically, to go in search of fresh air. Thus, the immense spaces of North America have not only fascinated Frank Lloyd Wright who – from the Prairie Houses to Broadacre City – pursued here the dream of a balance between the built and natural environment but also architects who have recently designed houses in uncontaminated and sometimes extreme locations, as a temporary buen retiro or an irreducible lifestyle choice.

From the homage to the typological and constructive characteristics of 19th century farmhouses and “dogtrot houses” (McLean Quinlan, Superkül), to a more contemporary (Faulkner Architects + Kundig, S3Architecture), essential (Kundig) and somehow modernist (mwworks) design, all the interventions reinterpret the theme of the “cabin in the woods” as a manifesto of authentic living that, from the shores of Lake Walden, reaches the forests and mountains of Wyoming, Vermont, California and Canada.

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