Reinventing the vernacular: a holiday house dressed as wooden hut in Norway

Mork-Ulnes Architects studies traditional techniques and environmental conditions to give shape to a mountain house that seems hiding in nature.

Disappearing into the landscape, carefully following the local ecosystem dynamics and minimising the anthropic impact. With the Skigard Hytte project, Mork-Ulnes Architects reinterprets forms, techniques and knowledge of the past in a contemporary way, creating an emotional bond with the built environment.

“We took great care in studying the rural vernacular and analyzing local building typologies as we wanted to fully understand what their forms accomplished functionally and how they shaped the local architectural culture,” says Casper Mork-Ulnes.

Mork-Ulnes Architects, Skigard Hytte, Kvitfjell Resort, Fåvang, Norway, 2020
Mork-Ulnes Architects, Skigard Hytte, Kvitfjell Resort, Fåvang, Norway, 2020

The most visible feature of the mountain house, which is located at an altitude of almost 1,000 metres, is the exterior cladding. The American studio reinterprets the fences used on Norwegian farms using the "skigard", a 3 metres long trunk cut into four parts which is traditionally arranged diagonally. This type of cladding creates a pattern that is both traditional and contemporary, which, together with the green roof, makes the structure disappear in the middle of the vegetation.

The architects decided to raise the residence on wooden pillars, so to protect the interior from the weather, maximise natural light and avoid building traditional foundations, which would have a much greater impact on the ground.  “The land had a pathway that the animals used to cross and access the steep hillside below, which is still the path to the house. Now the sheep stand under the house in the summer months to protect themselves from the weather,” recounts Lexie Mork-Ulnes

Mork-Ulnes Architects, Skigard Hytte, Kvitfjell Resort, Fåvang, Norway, 2020
Mork-Ulnes Architects, Skigard Hytte, Kvitfjell Resort, Fåvang, Norway, 2020

Another remarkable feature of the project are the interiors completely covered with wood. All the custom made furniture are in pine laminate. Materiality and the smell of raw wood create an intimate and welcoming atmosphere, linked to the natural scenery thanks to large openings.

Project:
Skigard Hytte
Location:
Kvitfjell Resort, Fåvang, Norway
Architect:
Mork-Ulnes Architects
Team:
Lexie Mork-Ulnes, Casper Mork-Ulnes, Phi Van Phan, Auste Cijunelyte, Kristina Line, Monica Lepinska
Structural engineering:
Bygg Konsulentene Øst.
Cabinetry and furniture:
Strønes Snekkerverksted
Contractor:
Hafjell Bygg
Completion:
2020

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