8 Of The World’s Most Gorgeous Rural Cabins

A new book showcases the architects designing innovative variations on the age-old cabin structure. Here, eight breathtaking rural getaways.

‘Tis the season to start snuggling up with a pumpkin spice latte and a copy of Walden; Or, Life in the Woods, imagining that someday you, too, will retreat to nature to “live deliberately . . . to live so sturdily and spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life,” as Henry David Thoreau described his cabin existence in 1854. More than 150 years later, cabins still tempt city dwellers away from the bustle of urban life, though their architecture has evolved in unexpected ways.


Cabins, a lavish Taschen tome out this month, compiles photographs and profiles of 61 dreamy getaways around the world, all designed by leading architects. These aren’t your basic Little House on the Prairie-type wooden cabins–none of these designs could be approximated with Lincoln Logs. Here, eight of the most escape plan-inspiring cabins, from a transportable spherical hotel room to a bungalow inspired by the traditional huts of Sri Lankan farmers.

estudibasic, Manel Duró and Marta Gordillo

Drop Eco-Hotel, by In-Tenta

This removable modular hotel room is made with wood, steel, and glass. “The idea is that this unit can be placed in a beautiful spot, but then easily removed without any ecological damage as a result of its presence,” the designers explain in the book. “Its design draws inspiration from organic shapes found in nature.”

Malaka Weligodapola/TASCHEN

Estate Bungalow, by Narein Perera, Matugama, Sri Lanka

Perched on a raised site between a rubber plantation and the jungle, this structure’s form is inspired by the Chena “watch huts” used by Sri Lankan farmers to look after their crops at night.

Lupi Spuma/TASCHEN

Hypercubus, by Studio WG3, Styria, Austria

This boxy, futuristic structure, rendered in bright blue laminated timber, is a research project. The designers’ goal was “to develop a minimal apartment” for two people.

Vitra 2013, photo Ariel Huber/Edit Images

Diogene, by Renzo Piano, Weil am Rhein, Germany

This retro-futuristic little hut, according to Piano, is based on “the idea of realizing a minimum refuge which can be used for emergencies, working in a small scale, and being self-sufficient and sustainable. A small residential unit using only natural energy sources.” It’s easily transported and made with three intersecting, glued layers of cedar. Photovoltaic panels, a geothermal heatpump, a rainwater collection system, and low-energy lighting make the structure as sustainable as possible. On the cozy inside, a foldable sofa bed and wooden table makes for a simple but practical living space.

Hidemi Nishida Studio and Anna Nagai/TASCHEN

Fragile Shelter, by Hidemi Hishida, Sappora Japan

This project is a temporary forest shelter for winter activities. The structure is on small stilts, elevated off the ground so that snow doesn’t warp its wood foundation.

Paul Dyer Photo/TASCHEN

Diane Middlebrook Studios, by CCS Architecture, Woodside, California

Diane Middlebrook, a professor of English at Stanford, passed away in 2007. Her husband, Stanford professor Carl Djerassi, had founded the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in 1979. When commissioned, CCS architecture completed four writers’ cabins, collectively called the Diane Middle brook Memorial Writers’ Residence, at the program’s headquarters. Resembling a series of super-sized shoeboxes, the sleep/work cabins were designed with solar panel roofs and clad in unfinished red cedar boards. They look out over the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Pacific. Each unit has a window to the sky.

Nelson Garrido/TASCHEN

Cabanas No Rio Huts, by Aires Mateus, Alcacer do Sal, Portugal

Finished entirely in reclaimed scrap wood, these cabins were deliberately modeled after the “archetypical forms” of nearby fishermen’s huts. One cabin is intended as a kitchen and place to rest, the other is a sleeping space with a small bathroom.


Mountain Cabin, by Marte Marte, Laterns, Austria

Made of “carefully hewn rough concrete” with oak front doors, this cozy structure includes a spiral staircase and bedrooms and relaxation areas “interlocked like a puzzle.”


For more breathtaking cabins and remote hideaways, go here.

Cabins is available for pre-order from Taschen here for $70.


About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.