City meets country. High meets low. There’s a lot of energy to be captured by cross-pollenating seemingly disparate architectural strains. Low-road rural buildings, with their utilitarian forms and tough, practical materials, offer modern architects an especially rich store of imagery with which to enliven their work. This collection of projects includes a contemporary renovation that incorporates two historic log cabins and new work that draws inspiration from such rural archetypes as the ranch shed, shotgun house, barn, and farm silo.

The pioneers, farmers, and ranchers who developed these vernacular types embraced simplicity for practical, rather than aesthetic or theoretical reasons. But the result was buildings whose directness of purpose, honesty of form, and expression of structure resonate strongly with the modernist approach. The lessons they teach, about economy, durability, comfort, and modesty, are as valuable today as they ever were.