The experimental buildings on Shoal Lake are featured in the recently published Cabin, Cottage & Camp: New Designs on the Canadian Landscape, a thoughtful compendium of contemporary “homes away” that—despite wildly different scales and budgets—all share an intimate relationship with the wilderness.
Herbert Enns used the opportunity to write an accompanying essay that explores, among other things, the psychic and environmental costs of even the gentlest intrusion on the land: “To cut Douglas fir plywood—to cut down a Douglas fir tree, to clear-cut first-growth forest, to cut down the coastal range—in order to configure a place of serenity in the wild is barbaric, unsophisticated, primitive, and violent. Construction is violent in almost every possible dimension. Some think it to be the spiritual essence of architecture. I do not. Its violence may be natural and necessary . . . but at incalculable costs. . . .
“Thankfully, violence is scalable. I made the buildings small, using as many recycled materials as possible. First comes necessity, then comes morality: a stand-alone off-the-grid solar energy system for power and light further reduces the scale of construction/destruction violence. When the batteries run down at night, we go to bed.