Snøhetta has offices all around the world, but its headquarters and roots are in Oslo, and most of its more imaginative building designs are located throughout Scandinavia. Known for its liberal use of concrete, Snøhetta’s structures are typically bold, often with swooping curves or angled extensions that jut like massive sails.
The Åkrafjorden cabin, then, is a study in contrast: It blends in so nicely with the landscape, it’s like a part of the landscape.
Not what one might expect from this confident firm. But the lodge is oriented toward hunters and it makes a stealthy footprint. The front wall and roof resemble a concrete wall that lost interest in standing upright and slowly folded over, but the construction is from two curved steel beams connected with a continuous layer of hand cut logs of timber on top, which is then covered with grass. The sides are local stone and tar-treated timber and glass. The interior is just 376 square feet, but it can sleep nearly two dozen.
“Our challenge in this task was designing a mountain hut of maximum 35m2 with facilities for 21 persons,” Snøhetta writes. “In order to achieve space for a amount of guests in a tiny space, we found inspiration in old traditions: a central fireplace as the gathering point. The beds along the walls works as seating in the evening – one furniture for the social, eating, and sleeping. A narrow zone by the entrance has equipment for cooking and storage.”
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.
Photos by James Silverman