Storm Shelter or Dwelling?



I’ve made a trip to Cullman County, Alabama every month for about a year now and have developed a great love for this land.  Its beautiful pastures, aging barns, rolling hills, and people make up the southern fabric of what I have come to appreciate and love.  I even enjoy the passing of on coming cars as the locals raise an index finger to signal a kind gesture of “hello”.  Across this landscape I have noticed there are storm shelters nestled into small hills and for some reason they always caught my eye and naturally my curiosity began.  I started asking myself what attracts me to these simple structures and began to recognize these small objects are just a primitive form of dwelling.  These shelters provide a very basic need of architecture: they shelter from the elements.  Yes, it is just a storm shelter, even vernacular, however, I think it is so much more.  The Cullman County shelters have a very basic and consistent design as you can see in the photographs and they are all made of similar materials.  The design is simple but every now and again a little detail may be added to express individuality. Each shelter has certain uniqueness and states certain creativity about its owner and strangely it reminds me of weird fashion trends and the feathers in women hats as a personal expression. I also think what people may remember while in these shelters.  Did these structures save lives and what kind of emotions must have been felt while a horrible storm was passing over their head.  The fear of death, the jubilation of surviving, and the sense of security all must have happened in these small unnoticeable objects.  As a side note- the photographs featured are were taken on a 4x5 view camera, Polaroid Land Camera and a 35mm film camera. I also will be posting more of these shelters throughout the year.

Any thoughts on everyday structures that have deeper meaning?  Please leave a comment.