Alpitecture: Alps – Architecture – Art

I have a strong passion for huts and alpine shelters…. small structures in extreme places. The effect of the environment on the materials used and the weathering produced is of extreme beauty to me and tell a story of time and place. The shelters themselves are a synonym for security from and exposure to the elements. They stand for ‘time out and recharge the batteriers’, a simple life away from the clutter filling our daily routines. In Europe they are often referred to as refuge or refugio, …how well suited is that!

When first I came to New Zealand to write the thesis for my architecture degree I had no plan. I picked up a map of the South Island and was intrigued by the graphic representation of Fiordland….what else was there to write about than huts? I picked the most remote location in an already remote national parc and set to work. This was the beginning of a life long love affair with small structures in extreme places.

I love the fading colors of painted or rusted corrugated iron used in many New Zealand huts as much as the beautiful natural tones of timer, stone and plaster in the European shelters. The European Alps have a long tradition of alpine architecture, with a variety of regional styles, initally built for farm purposes and now for tourisme alike. New Zealand’s back country huts often look back on a history of hunting and forestry work instead. 

My new series of paintings called ‘Alpitecture’ are inspired by having spent quite a lot of time in both alpine environments. I am trying to recall the colors and textures of the simple structures, the glow of the air and the magnificence of the surroundings without being precise in any way. Like a very distant but very vivid memory of time and place in a different dimension. It’s more about capturing the feeling of the moment, a very intuitive experience.