Thursday, April 25, 2013

Emotion Recollected in Sustainability - Carbeth's Hideaway Huts

If you go down to the woods today, you're in for a big surprise... that's if like me, you've only just discovered the eldritch charm at Carbeth. The huts made the news when Carbeth Hutters Community Hutters were granted a loan which is helping the community to buy their land.

The development of huts in the area north of Milngavie has existed since 1919. During the second world war, families from Clydebank stayed at Carbeth to escape the bombing of industry on the Clyde. Gradually, more huts were built and a small community was formed. Today, Carbeth is part of The Thousand Huts movement, which aims to promote hutting as a sustainable way of living that gives city-dwellers contact with the countryside. Around 140 self-powered cabins, huts and shacks form the collective, all of which rely on water standpipes, solar panels and wind turbines to sustain the inhabitants. 

In an age of convenience and energy expenditure, Carbeth makes a useful case-study of our relationship with place and how sustainability ethics inevitably stand to influence the future of design. It is intriguing to reflect that the community's original settlers may only have been searching for a calm oasis outside Glasgow when they began hand-building the community 80 years ago. Perhaps unbeknown to them, they were in fact laying the foundations for an eco-friendly ideal which today, is actively supported by people enjoying the same tranquility in the wooded retreat.

Architects such as Torsten Ottesjo show that improvisation and functionality are common concerns in the architecture profession. Surprising that the values of self-reliance and responsibility for fuel-use should take root in communities like Carbeth.

See also artist Frances McCourt's photography works like the one above compiled for an exhibition at Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow.