No. 165 . 01 October 2003 
ArchitectureWeek
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Rustic Cabin Essence

by Albert H. Good

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, The Civilian Conservation Corps built countless structures in U.S. state and national parks, providing jobs to unemployed youth. Many of these bridges, benches, and cabins were designed and documented by Albert H. Good, consulting architect for the National Park Service. His goal was to present structures that "appear to be a part of their settings." During this 70th anniversary year of the CCC, we look back at some of his classic cabin designs. — Editor

Among buildings that have come be regarded as justified within our present conception of a natural park, the cabin alone has the favorable advantage of long familiarity to us in woodland and meadow. Of all park structures, those cabins that echo the pioneer theme in their outward appearance, whether constructed of logs, shakes, or native stone, tend to jar us least with any feeling that they are unwelcome.

The fact that park cabins are usually erected in groups (frontier cabins as a rule were not) destroys somewhat the feeling of almost complete fitness that is produced by a single primitive cabin. Hence cabin groups must always be something of a dissonance in parks, acceptable only when their obtrusiveness is minimized insofar as possible.

Minimum Cabin Accommodation

The simplest type of cabin must seek to bring the required minimum of space need in shelter within a rigid limitation of cost. This problem will tax the ingenuity of the ablest designer desirous of producing a nice balance between traditional charm and reasoned practicability.   >>>

 
This article is excerpted from Patterns from the Golden Age of Rustic Design: Park and Recreation Structures from the 1930s by Albert H. Good, with permission of the publisher, Roberts Rinehart, Inc.

 

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