WORDS Cheri Morris IMAGES Bruce Damonte and Juan Benavides VIDEO Filmatica / Juan Benavides
Made almost entirely of wood, Skigard Hytte is the first ground-up project Mork-Ulnes Architects has built for their own family: an experimental mountain cabin in the Norwegian wilderness.
Situated 943 metres above sea level on top of a mountain in Kvitfjell – the ski resort developed specially for the 1994 Winter Olympics – the cabin is enveloped by some of the world’s most rugged and awe-inspiring terrain.
In the summer, its rough façade, made of skigard (quarter-cut log traditionally used by Norwegian farmers) sees it sit aptly within the surrounding forrest. Come winter, the gaps in the skigard fill with snow, affording the cabin a contrasting softness.
A home created by architects for architects, Skigard Hytte provided a laboratory for invention and experimentation – one that saw Casper and Lexie Mork-Ulnes push boundaries in ways that clients may not have the appetite for.
Pre-construction, they familiarised themselves with the unique qualities of the site by camping. Inspired by how often they were woken up by cows and sheep at their tent door, they decided to give the house an unusual configuration by lifting it on thin CLT legs. This hovering design ensures protection of the natural terrain, while affording the passing animals shelter from the elements.
The interior space matches the unconventional roughness of the exterior: a dance of light and smooth pine creates an ambience of intimacy and cosiness, allowing the breathtaking views to remain focal. All of the cabinetry and custom furniture (even the fridge handle) is made of three-layer, cross-laminated pine sheets.
Love this space? Check out another Norwegian forest cabin by Mork-Ulnes Architects, here.