Vardehaugen, Norway

Vardehaugen, Norway

The coast of Norway isn’t an especially gentle place. Oh, it can be, when it’s in the mood. But all

The coast of Norway isn’t an especially gentle place. Oh, it can be, when it’s in the mood. But all things being equal, it’s better right at the beginning simply to acknowledge the conditions and accommodate yourself to the wind and storms.

That was the approach the architects of Fantastic Norway took with this small family getaway. The structure is located about a hundred feet above the water in a shallow depression and, they say, “The cabin is shaped in a pose similar to a mountain fox curling up to avoid the wind. The body of the building lies snugly by a low mountain ridge and embraces the polished rock furthest out on the property. A small annex helps define an atrium and to shelter the outside spaces from cold and wind.”

Note the black and white walls, the way the vertical of the black intersects with the horizontal of the white. The white is a wonderful demarcation of the living space, while the black underscores places to keep moving, just as the wind does. And note the judicious placement of alcoves: Anywhere you might linger is protected, even if just partially, even just visually, to provide a hint of shelter.

Fantastic Norway adds:

The building is inspired by the traditional Norwegian cluster structures, small villages in which flexible half-climatic outside spaces and a clear social organisation are the leading architectural principles.”

The kitchen is the spine of the building and ties together the different rooms. From the work bench one can see the cabin, the atrium, and the panoramic sea view. The bedroom and bathroom are located towards the back of the property, with a view to the heath on Vardehaugen. The living room is situated at the outermost point on the property and functions as an observatory. From here, one has a sea view from three directions and can enjoy the path of the sun from the sofa. There is an open plan solution, but there are still shielded nooks and crannies that allow one to retire.

Retire? Yes, yes. Looks like a perfect place for it.

Architect: Fantastic Norway

Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.

Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal.
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Showing 3 comments
  • Jenny WOolf

    Quite a dream house. Looks as if the weather is unpredictable indeed. For me, it would need a load of interesting books inside!

  • mikeday

    this is one of my favorite weekends cabins yet. please continue to fuel my dreams with these beautiful fantasy-like getaways.

  • Linda Bowron

    Love the simplicity. Wish I was there.

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