Deep Creek Cabins

Deep Creek Cabins in Delamere, Australia by Max Pritchard

Being a sole practitioner, South Adelaide's Max Pritchard designs two to three houses a year, since the completion of his own house and office in 1989. Each house responds to its site and the client's desires by using structure as a means to deal with these issues in unique and creative ways. Therefore, the houses don't bear the stamp of architects like Tadao Ando or Richard Meier, but instead stand as singular testaments to the task at hand. The Deep Creek Cabins in Delamere, Australia, is an extension of this methodology, even though it is not a house for a single client.

Situated within the Deep Creek Conservation Park, about 60 miles south of Adelaide, the three cabins provide shelter for visitors in search of a "relaxed natural environment for sightseeing, bushwalking, fishing and bird watching", in the word's of the architect. These small cabins provide two bedrooms, a bathroom and an open living area in light structures with sliding doors, clerestories and corrugated metal cladding. The openness allows for a strong connection to the surroundings for the visitor, while also allowing for cross ventilation for summertime cooling.

While the shelters are reminiscent of fellow Australian architect Glenn Murcutt (also a sole practitioner), Pritchard's work lacks the formal and tectonic rigor of Murcutt, though this allows him a freedom in each job that creates refreshing results. In Deep Creek, Pritchard found a formal solution that limits intrusion upon the natural environment, while articulating the forms to take full advantage of the setting. As well, the cabins are totally self-sufficient in water (hot water provided by solar units on the roof) with a stone fireplace for winter heating, ideal in a remote, natural setting.

One of the most interesting aspects of the cabins is their unintentionally secondary purpose as advocates of a smaller, more compact living situation. The trend in house design in first world countries is for larger houses. Most of these houses do not utilize space efficiently, thereby requiring more space for what could be accomplished in less. Staying in a Deep Creek Cabin, visitors experience firsthand that smaller spaces work, that they don't need the larger houses that are popular today, which may benefit everybody, not just architects.