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Telemark, Gartnerfuglen Arkitekter & Mariana de Delás

Architecture as camouflage: Hideaway shelter in Telemark

People in search of peace and quiet have a hard time in a number of regions of Norway. Public access laws (Allemannsretten) give every citizen in the country, as well as in Sweden and Finland, the right to roam wherever they want, including on private property, and in many cases to even camp there. This means having to reckon with strangers at more or less any time.

The assignment to design the hideaway shelter on a lake in the Telemark region came from a family that already lives on a very secluded farm on the other side of the lake and that mainly wanted to use the new building as somewhere to fish and swim and as a quiet place for spending the night. The hut is only accessible over the water. 

Camouflaged in birch boughs
The design was drawn up by the Norwegian practice Gartnerfuglen and their Spanish colleague Mariana de Delás. The Oslo architects are specialists in smaller and often unconventional buildings and interventions that respond to and focus on special places in the landscape, and together with Delás have already realised a number of projects on Mallorca. The hut has a timber skeleton and is covered on the outside in birch boughs, meaning it is only recognisable from the water at third glance. In winter an insulating layer of air forms between the branches when they are snow-covered.  Solely the russet-colours door and window frames make the structure stand out from its natural surroundings. The indoor furnishings are reduced to bare essentials, namely a desk at the window, which looks out onto the lake, and two steps leading up to two raised wooden beds, where the starlit sky can be seen through an opening in the pyramidal roof.

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