Shacking Up: Little Loft Cabins Live Off the Grid
It started with a single shack on a remote plot of rural farmland. This one-off project turned out to be the prototype for a larger-scale venture – a modular housing system celebrating the bare-bones simplicity loft living in a natural setting.
The award-winning Shack at Hinkle Farm was designed to be as basic as possible – it was ultimately built by friends of the family, not a professional construction crew.
A vacation home for architect Jeffrey Broadhurst, the Shack is “simplicity embodied,” perched on a 27-acre mountaintop property in West Virginia. It can only be reached on foot or by off-road vehicle, and there’s no electricity – but the views are incredible.
In turn, The Crib evolved to be a flexible solution for similar site conditions with different elemental variables – the elevation, for instance, lending itself to flood-friendliness.
“This prototype building is made with sustainable and recyclable materials that can be fabricated off site then transported and quickly assembled where desired. The Crib, takes its basic form from traditional American corn cribs, which were common farm buildings that served to store and dry corn. However, here the form is realized as a more sophisticated kit of parts. The simple but exceptionally sturdy structural concept allows considerable flexibility in the length of the building and degree and type of outfitting.”
It is essentially a traditionally-made, wood-frame structure that sits up on stilts with walls on three sides and a glass-and-metal garage door facing down the hill, looking out over the landscape.
The evolved version, however, comes with a variety of optional additions, such as a first-floor brick facade, additional shading and fenestration options and so forth. A wood-burning stove, small kitchen, space to sleep and area to sit out on the deck make this a modest residence for full-time purposes but a great little vacation retreat.