Five Rusty Pieces

It's probably best these former shipping containers serve only as guest quarters to a more commodious West Texas ranch house. For stays of limited duration, the corrugated cabins offer a seductive, reductive appeal and the promise of a simpler, more elemental experience of daily life.

To preserve the fragile vegetation on the 3,500-acre site, the cabins were fitted for habitation off site—with MDF interiors and rudimentary necessities—and hauled in by twos on an 18-wheeler. They were then craned from an existing road and placed delicately onto hand-poured concrete piers.

Three of the five buildings in Cinco Camp, as it's called, are bedroom/bath units, one is a kitchen/dining zone, and there's an extra one for storage and utilities. A long deck of steel bar grating connects them to each other and to a stargazing platform in front. Wafer-thin roofs rise above the structures, blocking the overhead sun and exhausting spent air ventilated through their sliding front doors and large rear windows.—S.C.C. with C.W.

Architect: Rhotenberry Wellen Architects, Midland, Texas;
Builder: Ekstrom Construction Co., Midland;
Photographer: Hester + Hardaway.