Abandoned Cubby Huts: Dreaming and Decay
The cubby hut is an archetypal structure, a place of imagination, dreams, refuge and adventures. It is ephemeral by nature, both physically and psychologically, as it passes from our childhood explorations of the world and into the dreams and memories of adulthood. I first came upon these huts in 1999 while walking with my children in a wild Poplar forest in central Victoria. We have returned regularly to this forest, my sons to build their own huts and I to record these structures through the passing of time. I am fascinated by the fundamental engineering principles present in their construction – load bearing, cantilever, bracing, walls, roofs and entrances, etc.
In building these structures children are engaging with the phenomenon of matter and form, exploring design solutions and intuitively learning about the potential and limitations of the materials at hand as well as transforming space into place. These huts are built from and are intrinsically connected to the forest – they are landscape as architecture and architecture as landscape. This relationship to the environment (and time) also alludes to issues regarding habitat and consumption on a global level and the impending need to re-address our relationship to the landscape, flora and fauna.
I have used a homemade camera which utilises a plastic toy camera lens to make these images. This camera presents a primitive image with soft focus, distortion and image fall off (darkening at the edges). For me these qualities evoke the feelings and sense of memory and imagination which is embodied within these archetypal and transient structures.