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Skigard Hytte, Mork-Ulnes Architects, Photo: Juan Benavides

Life Amid the Snow: Skigard Hytte by Mork-Ulnes Architects

Skigard Hytte represents the first project that the architects have realized for themselves. The married couple with two children and a dog wanted a home amid natural surroundings and with a direct connection to skiing. The Kvitfjell ski resort, which was conceived expressly for the 1994 Winter Olympics, offers the best possible conditions for fulfilling these wishes.

In order to disturb the surrounding natural space as little as possible, the cabin has been set atop 45 wooden struts. Beneath this framework there is 1.5 metres of space, allowing the local sheep to continue grazing there. The rectangular structure features a regular grid whose pattern is reflected by the vertical struts on the exterior of the cabin. As these are visible behind the façade cladding of narrow wooden slats, they give structure to the cabin’s appearance. In employing the slats, the architects were inspired by local building traditions: in this area, meadow fencing is traditionally made of diagonally arranged skigard. These quartered slats became the project’s namesake. In the warmer seasons, the façade appears angular and lively. But when the snows come and lie over the slats, the cabin takes on a much softer aspect.

On the path to Skigard Hytte, a verandah sets the tone. It penetrates the entire structure and divides the cabin into two sections. To the right, a door opens into the guest wing. The actual door to the house is to the left. Inside, a warm atmosphere pervades the cabin, influenced by the wood cladding on all surfaces. At the core, a long corridor leads to the adjacent spaces. In Norway, this type of corridor is known as a trønderlån. A large communal area is home to kitchen and living room alike. In addition, there are three bedrooms. All the rooms are equipped with high windows with panoramic views overlooking the neighbouring mountains.

A short film by Juan Benavides / Filmatica conveys the tranquillity and proximity to nature that are inherent to the snowbound cabin:

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