Cabins. Cottages. Huts. Whatever we call them, they offer an escape. A sanctuary.

And an architectural form with a rich history to uncover.

From their colonial roots, to their place in frontier exploration, to the back-to-the-land movements of the 20th century, to the “cabin porn” filling up our social media feeds—there’s much about cabins to explore.

On now at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Cabin Fever is a new exhibition that digs deep into the concepts behind this ubiquitous structure.

“It is explored through three main themes in the exhibition. First, we look at ‘Shelter,’ which introduces the cabin as a pragmatic, traditional function of western expansion. ‘Utopia' looks at the cabin as the ideal locale for introspection or to escape the conventions of society; and ‘Porn,’ which positions the cabin as an idea fully integrated into everyday life and popular culture,” said curator Jennifer M. Volland.

Cabin Fever on Display at the Vancouver Art GalleryDorothea Lange; Home of rural rehabilitation client, Tulare County, California; Farm Security Administration—Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Highlights include 17 analytical models illuminating the cabin's architectural progression from the 1700s to today.

Artwork on display illustrates classic designs such as an A-Frame from the 1930s; the iconic Chamberlain Cottage from architects Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, which disrupted the classic New England style of the time; plus works from R. Buckminster Fuller, Frank Lloyd Wright and others.

The exhibition also delves into the whimsy of cabin culture. One haunting room is dedicated to the cabins of horror films; another has a dystopian survivalist hideout on display and another pays homage to “Cabin Porn,” a growing hashtag for the social media set.

It’s a rainy day getaway; inspiration for a future project. And it’s running until September 30, 2018.

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