“Pre-Fab” often conjures images of particle board and plywood; the boxy antithesis of good design. But as French photographer Alex Strohl has discovered, with the right peak and proper pitch, a pre-fab A-frame house can indeed be a thing of great beauty. A self-described “Adventure Photographer,” Alex is best known for his stunning portraits of the Canadian and American west, and his work has been featured in publications ranging from Forbes to Vanity Fair. But when his travels take him past the A-frame chalets favored by many dwellers of the British Columbian wilderness, he can’t help but capture their simple and symmetrical charms. As subjects, they are a reoccurring theme in Alex’s work, and as architectural statements, they seem to blend seamlessly—and organically—with their natural surroundings.

But as any student of architecture will tell you, perfect design is a question of form following function. A structure shouldn’t simply look good—it needs to work within a larger context. And while the sharply-angled A-frame peaks are indeed pleasing to the eye, they also serve a purpose: a steep roof keeps snow and rain from accumulating during long Canadian winters, a narrower structure makes heating more energy efficient, and the exposed front allows ample window-space for enjoying the wilderness. The A-frame cabin contradicts conventional notions of what a cabin should be not out of defiance, but out of simple practicality. They are ideal structures for their time and place, and that alone contributes to the aesthetic perfection of their design.

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