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Hikers’ huts near Hammerfest, Spinn Arkitekter, Photo: Tor Even Mathisen

Igloos built of wood: Hikers’ huts near Hammerfest

Two shelters for two mountain peaks around the town – this was the simple planning task given Spinn Arkitekter of Oslo by the Norwegian hiking association DNT. As said at the briefing, "Small hikers’ huts with good windows, a wood-burning stove and simple benches, set up near the top of the mountain and given a design suited to the terrain – that’s what we have in mind”. In collaboration with Format Engineers of Great Britain, Spinn went on to devise two igloo-like volumes out of cross-laminated timber elements, which were to be pieced together like a 3D puzzle and clad on the outside in panels of heat-treated wood.

To obtain a basis for the form-finding, the two sites were mapped in 3D with the help of a drone and photogrammetry software. The initial forms created by the architects in Sketchup and Rhino were then worked over by the engineers with the help of Kangaroo and Grasshopper, whereby use was also made of several scripting tools developed by Format. Two wooden shells, both made up of 77 panels with differing formats each were the result.

As the cost of the shelters now went beyond DNT’s budget, the hiking association initiated a crowdfunding project to generate donations, plus association members put in 1,500 hours of voluntary work. This involved assembling the cross-laminated timber structure of one of the shelters in a test run in a factory hall, and in the case of both cutting their outer cladding to size. The two huts were then separated into two, taken on low-bed trucks to their final destinations and put back together on previously constructed concrete foundations.

Further Information:

Structural engineering: Format Engineers, Bath/London

Floor space: 15meach

Building Costs: 100,000 € each

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DETAIL 9/2021

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