Cabins by Philip Jodidio

cabins taschen

Worm sets off into the wilderness to review ‘Cabins’, a stunning new photographic book published by TASCHEN

I’m slightly embarrassed to say this in public, but I must confess to being something of a Grand Designs addict. My little addiction enables me to re-watch every episode again and again, despite being repulsed by Kevin McCloud’s presenting style (both constipated and smug at the same time.) Looking beyond the self-satisfied voiceover and the usual middle class neuroses however, there’s something deeply gratifying in seeing people stick a middle finger up to everyone else’s taste and expectations in pursuit of their own architectural vision.

Those kind of self-build renegades, Thoreau fans, frustrated shed owners and DIY dreamers could not ask for a finer Christmas present this year than Cabins, a beautiful new photographic book from TASCHEN. Cabins presents a global snapshot of 61 of the very best and most covetable eyries available, created by some of the world’s most famous architects using the latest eco-materials. Freed from the urban vernacular, these cabins are startling expressions of personal taste and architectural fancy; and seem to be both a manifestation of the desire to retreat from urban consumerism, and yet also a product of urban consumerism, to be lusted after as unobtainable Cabin Porn.


Inside these Bauhaus beauties there are no battered armchairs, no flower pots, no lawnmowers or old Haynes manuals. Far removed from piffling potting sheds, they are gleaming Hollywood space ships beamed into the remote wilderness. I find that the beauty is in the surprise of the juxtaposition, in that unlike a log or sod cabin that melds into the landscape that created it, the buildings featured in this book are to be admired as man’s imprint upon nature, their concrete and glass façades floating in lonely forest clearings like some modernist update on the baroque temples of Claude Lorrain.


And they are indeed gorgeous and deeply satisfying to look at and lust after. The book itself is also a thing of beauty in its own right too. The illustrations, in a 1950’s style, by Marie-Laure Cruschi are almost prettier than the cabins themselves. Offering inspiration and a hefty dose of envy for all fans of stylish design and the great outdoors, this is definitely a book to get lost in.

You can purchase your own copy of Cabins, and other books in the collection by visiting the TASCHEN website.



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About Author Profile: Worm

In between dealing with all things technological in the Dabbler engine room, Worm writes the weekly Wikiworm column every Saturday and our monthly Book Club newsletters.

10 thoughts on “Cabins by Philip Jodidio

    December 11, 2014 at 10:31

    As a fellow Grand Designs addict, may I also recommend George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on Ch4 (if you haven’t found it yet) – more shed-oriented than GD…

    • Worm
      December 11, 2014 at 10:43

      It is indeed more sheducational – however I hate that George Clarke even more than I hate Kevin McCloud. I obviously have some unresolved issues involving TV architecture programme presenters

      • December 11, 2014 at 14:41

        I don’t know George Clarke but if he’s smugger than Kevin McCloud it’ll be saying something. McCloud makes no attempt whatsoever to hide his opinion that, however brilliant the house turns out to be, he would have done it more intelligently, more inexpensively and in much better taste.

    December 11, 2014 at 12:06

    I wouldn’t bother trying to resolve any issues you have with these people – just give me the nod. I have a few ‘friends’ on the Iberian peninsula who could make either (or both) of these blisters ‘disappear’ if you want to take it that far. The going rate is 10,000 Euros, but I might be able to get both of them done for less than E20,000 – sounds like a bargain to me.

    December 11, 2014 at 13:43

    We frequently trek the A68 ‘twixt Melrose and Edinburgh and had noticed a construction rising inexorably from behind the high hedge at the back of the mega lay-by (turning point for many buses, overnight juggernaut’s paradise and mobile burger van hotspot,) just south of Pathhead (one chippy, a medical practice, one set of converted barns and tumble weed galore.) “It’s an advance unit”, said frau m, “about 3000 sq ft”. Could be although, in appearance, it was more WW2 coastal gun emplacement than factory. The construction took some months, culminating in the surrounded by white vans stage or fitting out, as they say in the trade.
    Many moons later Kev the hard hat outed it, the praise gushed like a beheaded fire-hydrant, his enthusiasm for the joint knew no bounds including a eulogy on the view (dreary farm fields and endless hedgerow). The joint was, apparently, heaven on earth.

    The monolithic concrete monstrosity was a house, by golly by gosh.

    Not a single mention of the constant thundering traffic, never mind the lorry drivers peeing in the hedge or the aroma of mangled burger.

    December 11, 2014 at 20:56

    Anyhoo…back to the subject in hand, the current trend in books covering tree houses, sheds and cabins is interesting and Taschen is the one to follow, from their HQ on the Hohenzollernring comes a steady stream of new titles from, frankly, trashy slim volume stuff on any artist you care to name to seriously heavy and in depth coverage of Japanese art. Their Calatrava, seemingly coffee table jobbie, ouch in price and gulp in weight is actually a serious Catalogue Raisonné of yer actual Spaniard’s curving and curvy architecture.

      December 11, 2014 at 21:15

      Taschen were always famous for naughty photo books weren’t they. This cabins book is seriously massive, it’s the size and weight of a paving slab. Looks most impressive on the coffee table in my decidedly non-grandly-designed house

    December 11, 2014 at 22:00

    There is a life form below even Kevin and ‘Architect George Clarke’ – I refer you to Charlie Luxton, presenter currently of Homes by the Sea. I’m addicted to that too, of course.

    • Worm
      December 12, 2014 at 09:38

      I have yet to be exposed to this new mutation of the McCloud virus, I shall be on my guard for this fellow

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