What defines a refuge? It probably depends on what you’re seeking refuge from. Maybe in the strictest of physiological needs, a roof and four walls are mandatory. Though an argument could be made that sometimes we find a different kind of protection in open-air spaces: a metaphorical refuge that provides a safe place for our wanderlust and exploration to germinate.
With the Forest Stair, in Sti, Norway, and the Lookout at Aurland, the designers at Saunders Architecture, managed to provide the slightest sense of physical comfort in an otherwise challenging environment. High in a treetop canopy or teetering off a cliff above a fjord, the structures indulge our human bent to climb higher but don’t provide any physical reason to stay.
To call the Forest Stairs and Aurland Lookout “cabins” is just a metaphorical stretch, it’s a running long jump. Though, by way of seeking refuge for your dreams, sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes. The Forest Stairs and the Aurland Lookout may indeed have the power – in a few short steps – to deliver you to a completely different place.
And if it’s all BS, well, there sure are damn fine views.
Weekend Cabin is not 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 by Saunders Architecture, with credit for Aurland Overlook images to Bent René Synnevag and Nils Vik