Cabin vardehaugen / fantastic norway

Architect’s description:
The project is a coastal cabin placed on Vardehaugen, an outcrop by the mouth of the fjord at Grøttingen on the Fosen peninsula. The property is situated 35 meters above sea level in a small depression at the top of the outcrop, with a panoramic view in virtually all directions. The adjacent landscape is dominated by sea, rock, heath, and a sometimes rough coastal climate. The project is a result of the wish of the employers for a cabin custom-made for their family, the characteristic property, and the changing climate in the area. 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.

Cabin vardehaugen / fantastic norway

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.

Cabin vardehaugen / fantastic norway

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.

Cabin vardehaugen / fantastic norway

To provide maximum protection for the cabin, the black roof folds in and becomes wall surfaces towards the most exposed directions. The wall surfaces are placed at the angle that will give least access to the wind. At the entrance and by the living spaces, the rough, dark walls are replaced by horizontal, white covering. The cabin is constructed on a simple wooden framework covered with Royal impregnated pine. The cabin is anchored by steel rods that stretch from the ground beam, via the strip foundation to the bedrock.

Cabin vardehaugen / fantastic norway

The planning of the cabin was executed during a year of regular trips to Vardehaugen. It was done this way in order to get the most complete impression of the varying climatic conditions affecting the property. Given the exposed position of the property and the strict demands of the regulation plans, neighbours and local authorities were included early in the design process. Many of the drafts were, for example, drawn full-scale in the snow, in order to visualise the size and exact placement of the building. Local wind information on the property was registered with the help of windsocks and conversations with local inhabitants. These observations, in addition to Anne Brit Børve’s PhD dissertation (“The design and function of single buildings and building clusters in harsh, cold climates”) became important tools in relation to the placement, disposition, and design of the building entities.

The technical details of the cabin were decided upon in close dialogue with the contractor ”Åbygg AS,” and were based on their long experience of building in the particular coastal climate on the Fosen peninsula.

Project Details:
Atrium cabin on Vardehaugen
location:Grøttingen / 7170 Åfjord- Åfjord Kommune – Norway
Type: Residential – Houses
Completed: November 2008
Owner: Knut Aasarød / Synnøve Matre
Architect: Håkon Matre Aasarød / Sivilarkitekt MNAL /Fantastic Norway AS –
Architect collaborators: Håkon Matre Aasarød, Erlend Blakstad Haffner, Thomas Tysseland, Øystein Aasarød and Sigrid Bjørkum.
Interior architect: Sivilarkitekt MNAL Sigrid Bjørkum
Consultants: Sivilingeniør Øystein Aasarød, Sivilarkitekt Thomas Tysseland
Project leader: Sivilarkitekt Håkon Matre Aasarød / Fantastic Norway AS
Gross surface area: 77m²
Photographer: Håkon Matre Aasarød

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