It took Bruce Porter 40 years to build this house on Criehvaen island in Maine. He first visited the speck of land in 1971, bought a parcel, and then didn’t get serious about building until the 1990s. Lucky for him, by that time his daughter Alex had grown and become an architect and it was to her the challenge fell of design and construction on this remote site with no electricity.
As she writes, “This three-season retreat house is situated on the outermost inhabited island in Maine. The island has no roads, stores, electricity, water service, year-round inhabitants or ferry service – no grid. The house can store enough solar energy and rain water to power a refrigerator, lights, kitchen tap, outdoor shower and outlets for music or a laptop for as long as you’d like.”
Materials were brought to the island by Vietnam-era amphibious military vehicle and construction was done primarily by hand. The cabin has a composting toilet, 525-gallon cistern and propane stove. It’s 550 square feet and is protected from the elements by sliding aluminum shutters – recent winds there were recently clocked at 100 mph.
Weekend Cabin isn’t 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.