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Log clad cabin with green roof built to withstand severe weather

Children sitting on the outside steps of log log-clad cabin with a green roof
Exterior close-up view of the clad diagonally in Skigard and main stair
Close-up of clad diagonally in Skigard and green roof

Not many families can say they can put on downhill skis to reach the local market to go grocery shopping and return home using ski lifts, but for the occupants of Skigard Hytte Cabin in Norway, it’s a requirement. The cabin sits 943 meters above sea level, nearly at the top of the Kvitfjell mountain and aside from it’s breathtaking views and unique transport requirements, it is exposed to severe winter weather.

Timber-made living and dining area, with glass walls offering a glimpse of the woods and snow.
An interior view of a dining area made of timber, with glass walls providing views of the surrounding trees and snow

Architects and owners of the cabin, Mork-Ulnes Architects, have designed the cabin to sit 1.5m above the ground which is an effective way of dealing with high snowdrifts, minimising the possibility of being snowed in. This simple solution also minimally disturbs the landscape and allows for sheep and cows pass through their grazing trail. It’s not unusual for animals to take shelter under the house!

The exterior of the house is clad diagonally in Skigard, a timber traditionally used by Norwegian farmers as fencing, and every internal surface is also clad in timber – from the cabinetry, custom furniture, shower walls and bathroom floors. The green roof was one of the few choices deemed suitable by local council and is lush with native grasses found on the ground below.

A man admiring trees and snow from inside his timber window
An interior view of a living area made of timber, with glass walls providing views of the surrounding trees and snow
An interior view of a bedroom made of timber, with glass walls providing views of the surrounding trees and snow

Sustainability specs:
– Green roof
– Extensive use of locally sourced timber
– Triple glazed argon insulated windows
– Floor to ceiling windows provide ample natural night, minimising use of lighting
– 8 inch/200mm thick insulated walls means the house requires minimal heating despite the freezing conditions outside

Distant view of the clad diagonally in Skigard surrounded by trees
Aerial view of the log-clad cabin topped with a green roof surrounded by trees
From the architect:

There was something interesting about making a cladding out of log that was completely detached from the house – creating a log cabin skin that sits outboard of the building, where it is not the load-bearing element one is used to in conventional log construction.

Images courtesy of Mork Ulnes. Photography by Bruce Damonte

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