Cottagecore: The Architecture and Philosophy

Cottagecore: The Architecture and Philosophy

There’s been a recent popular interest in and adoption of an aesthetic born from agrarian retreats called cottagecore. It harkens back to the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other simpler times of settlers, pioneers, and traditional European settlements. Cottagecore includes flowers, woods, warm tones, thatched roofs, worn furniture, and other objects and motifs associated with country living. The restorative power of cottages and retreats has long been recognized, but their popularity and renewed interest coincides with the pandemic as our lives are marked by excessive time spent indoors and communicating solely through electronic mediums. This video looks closely at the architecture of cottagecore, specifically Heidegger’s hut, and other buildings considered within phenomenology, and compares them to the Storybook Style homes built in California during the 1920s.

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Stewart Hicks is an architectural design educator that leads studios and lecture courses as an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also serves as an Associate Dean in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts and is the co-founder of the practice Design With Company. His work has earned awards such as the Architecture Record Design Vanguard Award or the Young Architect’s Forum Award and has been featured in exhibitions such as the Chicago Architecture Biennial and Design Miami, as well as at the V&A Museum and Tate Modern in London. His writings can be found in the co-authored book Misguided Tactics for Propriety Calibration, published with the Graham Foundation, as well as essays in MONU magazine, the AIA Journal Manifest, Log, bracket, and the guest-edited issue of MAS Context on the topic of character architecture.

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  1. zlibbus on April 13, 2023 at 10:33 am

    Hobbits are my favorite proponents of Cottagecore

  2. Don Waters on April 13, 2023 at 10:36 am

    Laura WIlder’s home is a museum a few miles east of Springfield, Missouri outside of the town of Mansfield. It has been maintained there for many decades, but it’s more popular than ever today–the cottagecore fans’ pilgrimage site I suppose.

  3. X X on April 13, 2023 at 10:36 am

    Marie Antoinette’s cottage at Versailles is super cute.

  4. Carissa Fisher on April 13, 2023 at 10:37 am

    I went to architecture school, I had no idea what Heidegger was all about. Thanks for explaining his philosophy in an easy way.

  5. Tyler Minix on April 13, 2023 at 10:40 am

    I dream of a small cottage or large Georgian. There’s no in-between, for me. The common mc-mansions we have here in Georgia are discussing and overpriced production garbage.

  6. Dakota Rose on April 13, 2023 at 10:41 am

    The Unabomber and the Nazi philosopher. Cottagehardcore.

  7. Deyvson Moutinho Caliman on April 13, 2023 at 10:41 am

    Wood became very expensive, I’d say it’s a sign of status nowadays, at least in Brazil. While in the past the poor built with wood, nowadays the poor use glass and aluminum.

  8. Peter B on April 13, 2023 at 10:41 am

    Thank you for this very comprehensive review. A lot of great sources and ideas. But seriously:

  9. glockman1727ak47 on April 13, 2023 at 10:43 am

    Love me that Wood paneling. I know lot of people hate it.

  10. Gabriel Blyde on April 13, 2023 at 10:44 am

    the fish that shall not be named

  11. Sciencer scientifico on April 13, 2023 at 10:44 am

    There’s just something nostalgic about cottages, whether they be the wattle-and-daub cottages with thatched roofs that peasants lived in during the medieval era, little Italian villas, Even up to the craftsman bungalows and cottages of the early 20th century. I guess it’s some form of escapism, many urbanites want to get away from the rat race of corporate culture, constant traffic jams, an astronomical cost of living, etc. There’s a nostalgia for the pre-industrial lifestyles of farmers, even though the lifestyle involved long hours of backbreaking labor for little reward, and that pre-industrial farmers had few comforts ( except for the aristocratic farmers like southern planters ).

  12. Femboy Skeleton on April 13, 2023 at 10:45 am

    Ted Kaczynksi was the original cottagecorer

  13. Julia Helland on April 13, 2023 at 10:45 am

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing this ❤

  14. Confused Dave on April 13, 2023 at 10:48 am

    "One is built from a desire for genuine and authentic reconnection with nature, and the other is just a hollywood stage set, built for novelty and spectacle." I know you kind of unpacked that a bit in the next sentence, but I feel like there’s a pretty sharp value judgement in there that goes unexamined; if I learned anything from Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi it’s to be a bit less reflexive in dismissing the apparently superficial. Ducks and decorated sheds, and all that.

  15. Allen Dishman on April 13, 2023 at 10:48 am

    This is my favorite style of house. I would pay good money to build my own house in this style.

  16. Alvaro A. Fuentes on April 13, 2023 at 10:50 am

    its L.A.R.P.

  17. joe seeking on April 13, 2023 at 10:54 am

    Then there’s cottaging – but, although that may have a somewhat rustic or at least spare aesthetic, it’s not quite the same thing. Though it might also be possible to find at Target.

  18. mcspirit on April 13, 2023 at 10:54 am

    Would you considder earthships part of cottagecore? Seems the getting in touch with nature part and the rough lines could fit right in.

  19. Admiral D on April 13, 2023 at 10:57 am

    OH MY GOD! where has this incredible video been all my life!?
    I’m designing a shed in my garden to look like a castle, I’ve spent years trying to define why I like this concept and if there’s anyone else seeking this – and I find it here! 👌 👏 👍

  20. Mirrorunlimited on April 13, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Heidegger was a Nazi. I thought it’d be worth mentioning.

  21. Jacek Golanski on April 13, 2023 at 10:58 am

    Help please.
    I would like to visit some buildings mentioned in this video.
    But I am severely dialectic and can not find them even with help of google algorithms.
    If someone could type those names in a comment of this video it would be great.

  22. Captain1nsaneo on April 13, 2023 at 11:02 am

    Nice video but Kaczynski can go burn, he killed the brother of a family friend.

  23. Layla Abd Alrazaq on April 13, 2023 at 11:05 am

    Could anyone please tell me the name of the movie in the scene at 1:38? Thank you!

  24. Jake Dee on April 13, 2023 at 11:05 am

    I think wooden cottages are when it all started to go wrong, I yearn for a simpler life more in touch with nature. That’s why I’m now totally into Cavecore.

  25. Graham 1973 on April 13, 2023 at 11:07 am

    I remember seeing a storybook design in a scanned copy of a 1930s magazine, called ‘American Builder’ if I remember the title correctly. That was put out by the William Radford architectural firm of Chicago. They specialized in ‘plan books’ which were sold through various building supply companies. The idea being that a prospective home owner would see a design they liked in the book, the William Radford company would design the house from the plan to fit the site and the supply company who sold (or gave away) the plan book would be the one to supply the materials. The whole plan book industry and the related kit home industry might be worth a video.

  26. thoughtengine on April 13, 2023 at 11:09 am

    Past times were not simpler. Nor is getting closer to Nature. Nothing will ever improve until you get that out of your head once and for all. My parents moved well out of the city and tried permaculture, but it was, and still is, rather a complex lifestyle that they can only do because they are both retired.
    See also: the UK series Beachcomber cottage.

    Being out in the country does not render you completely independent on any services, either. This makes your plan less green, as you will have no public transport and need to rely more than ever before on cars.

    Growing your own food is not without its environmental impact, either; Queensland farmers have dumped many thousands of tonnes of avocados, as one example, this year alone due to dropping prices, and food that isn’t purchased from some sort of market or other is simply wasted. Grow your own and chances are that what you would otherwise have bought will go to waste. And Greenpeace are now promoting food waste as being worse than flying. The world already produces more food than every man, woman, child, pet and livestock animal knows what to do with; it’s probably not sustainable, the sheer amount that is being produced. No need to add more.

    I think the real attraction of cottagecore is still mostly aesthetic, in a way that melts down into a lifestyle that never existed but appears to have existed for generations, and would be best practiced as a genuinely modern lifestyle with a vintage style, forging a connection you wish for to the land around you and not pretending it was there already just because your house apes a centuries-old style that was never that practical except in Europe (and that’s another thing, why do you not see people living the cottagecore life in a Queensland Ipswich cottage?)

    If you just like the style, then why not – but just don’t pretend it’s something it’s not.

  27. White Belt At Life on April 13, 2023 at 11:11 am

    Can you do a video on Spanish Colonials?

  28. Lina on April 13, 2023 at 11:11 am

    Hmmmmm this video has been in my "watch later" for ages and was very sceptical for a while as someone who loves cottagecore and today i finally watched it. I honestly have to say almost nothing in your video has to do with the "modern cottagecore" but a lot more about the history of similar ideas (retreating from modernity/ romanticism). Your video is very interesting nonetheless and mentioned many interesting sentiments that the modern "cottagecore" aesthetic shares.

    Cottagecore today has much stronger ties to anti-capitalist and eco-friendly ideas – much less with rich writers and celebrities buying expensive second homes. Another very important aspect is the aesthetic of Cottagecore as Gen Z have revived it is VERY QUEER. A lot is romanticising a simple life away from the rules of society. There is a lot of advocation for individuality and knowledge. For many gay people, especially queer women/nb people it is a way of embracing "femininity and masculinity" in a non-patriarchal setting as in home-baking, gardening, getting all dirty, large DIY home projects, dresses, handcrafts, fixing things, tending to farm animals. It is a very freeing way for us to express ourselves – doing things we enjoy without purely out of love for ourselves and for our loved ones without gender roles. There is the romanicisation of "english countryside living" but many also pull from ideas of simple living from other cultures. I highly recommend "Why is cottagecore so gay" by Rowan Ellis.

    The ideas of sustainability, having my own place and community and a home to love is one of the things that got me into architecture in the first place ^^ I’m currently in my fourth semester and i am very glad how much emphasis my university puts on sustainability, accessibility, solving social problems with architecture and diversity. It isn’t all about each person having their own house living comfortably and cut off from the world – that just isn’t feasible for most. For me: cottage core is also social gardening projects, sustainable housing shelters (see: Shigeru Ban), wooden pavilions in city parks, decorating your apartment with plants, light and airy rooms…

  29. Otaku: Phase II on April 13, 2023 at 11:12 am

    I can’t look away from the conspicuous Dunn birdhouse…

  30. Alejandro Cabrera on April 13, 2023 at 11:13 am

    The irony is that the ppl who already live the "cottage core" life long to live in the city and I don’t blame them, life in rural areas is secluded and hard, even in small towns as I have family in small towns and work in agriculture and it feels secluded and honestly boring. But personally if I could afford it, I’d buy a second home in a small town near a train station so that I can ride the train from the big city to a chill coastal town and just walk to my second home.

  31. Brandon on April 13, 2023 at 11:14 am

    This was titillating

  32. Ryan de Klerk on April 13, 2023 at 11:14 am

    While not the focus of this subject, I think it’s always worth noting that Heidegger, while making significant contributions to Western philosophy like expounding on Husserl’s concept of phenomenology, was a Nazi. And while there’s a lot of debate about whether his involvement with Nazism was political or philosophical (there are certainly plenty of big names who defended him, including Hannah Arendt), I think it’s necessary to approach anything of his with caution, especially if it’s something folkish like cottage living simply due to that link to fascism.

  33. Jim Urrata on April 13, 2023 at 11:15 am

    10 seconds in and I’m asking wth is up with the faux shingles all lined up vertically at the front door. 🧐

  34. Ariel Ruzitsky on April 13, 2023 at 11:16 am

    heidegger was a nazi

  35. Ares8 on April 13, 2023 at 11:16 am

    I think it should be noted that Heidegger hut looked very different when he was alive. It looked more rustic, white bricks were covered with wood. Overall it looked more like a cabin

  36. allen schmitz on April 13, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Peeing in the bushes is freedom.

  37. M Vinciguerra on April 13, 2023 at 11:17 am

    many today have a fascination with the tiny home 🏡 also the treehouse gable roof windows and all

  38. Ethan Rowland on April 13, 2023 at 11:20 am

    I’ve definitely been exposed to a much more gay/witch in the woods version of cottagecore and less hunter cottagecore…. much better ngl

  39. Robyn on April 13, 2023 at 11:21 am

    Anybody else think the whole first half of the video was not cottage core? Or at least modern day cottage core, it was like cabin-hiking core. Story book design is where modern cottage core comes from.

  40. Vx on April 13, 2023 at 11:22 am

    I’d say cottages have always been part of Finnish and Scandinavian culture. In Finland in particular almost every family has a cottage somewhere outside the city.

  41. Ray Romano on April 13, 2023 at 11:22 am

    What’s the fish’s name? 😑

  42. Robin Goodfellow on April 13, 2023 at 11:24 am

    As a mild insomniac, I can confidently say that there is no place I sleep better than in my family’s cabin. No cars, no phone, not even a fridge humming. Absolute quiet.

  43. GM 99 on April 13, 2023 at 11:25 am

    So how do you think the philosophy you describe which says that people’s envronment influence them would consider astronauts living in the international space station?

  44. Olivia on April 13, 2023 at 11:25 am

    I feel like you got the basis of the aesthetic all wrong. It’s significantly more English countryside than Americana settler. American frontier people had cabins as you said, but this is cottagecore, not cabincore. Cottages are a very 1800’s English countryside thing. I’d say the tones are significantly less hearty and warm than you depicted, more airy and light.

  45. Ozark Harsh Noise Scene on April 13, 2023 at 11:27 am

    we need a video on st Louis architecture

  46. zincink on April 13, 2023 at 11:27 am

    Thanks for sharing this history.

  47. Grant Amann on April 13, 2023 at 11:28 am

    You are the best Architecture youtuber, and I’ll take that to my grave but…. do you recommend any other channels?

  48. John C on April 13, 2023 at 11:30 am

    Seconds after seeing this video, I suddenly received an ad for farmhouse furniture.

  49. Katy Tberry on April 13, 2023 at 11:31 am

    The history of cottage architecture was really interesting, as was the concept of phenomenology, which I hadn’t heard of before. I wonder how it ties into nro-paganism, and am looking forward to that deep dive. But I have to disagree with the idea that pioneer and Little House on the Prairie are the same as cottagecore. IMHO, those are more solidly camped in the farmhouse aesthetic, which is much more focused on farm animals and larger scale agriculture. Cottagecore is more at one with the landscape than even the most weathered farmhouse, and any cottage farm animals and gardens are small in nature, personal, insulated against the noise of the world. In short, farms and pioneer homes are busy and big. Cottages are small and calm.

  50. Dake Townsend on April 13, 2023 at 11:32 am

    I was hoping "Cottage Core" was some new genre of metal music. lol

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