In the Norwegian town of Hammerfest, perched on Europe’s northernmost tip, a series of cabins have opened to the public as a welcome retreat for day hikers. The simple cabins have been designed to withstand the harsh polar winter conditions of the area, provide hikers with a warm and inviting rest stop, and be an attraction in itself.
Oslo studio Spinn Arkitekter collaborated with UK-based Format Engineers to design the cabins for the Norwegian Trekking Association who provided them with a simple brief: “we imagine a small hiking cabin with good windows that has a wood burning stove and simple benches, placed near the top of the mountain and designed such that it suits the terrain.”
The egg-shaped huts are based on 3D laser scans of the surrounding rocky terrain and have been tested against simulated wind conditions to make sure that they can withstand winter arctic storms and extreme wind conditions. Simple but cosy, the mountain cabins will provide a safe haven for climbers during inclement weather or simply a spot for day hikers in the Storfjellet and Tyven mountains to rest and enjoy the views.
Both light-filled huts have a single large window that erases the boundaries between inside and out, providing uninterrupted views of Hammerfest and the sea. Pale wooden walls reflect the golden glow of the sunset, and hikers can warm themselves by a wood burning stove before heading back out again.
There were fears the cabins wouldn’t be realised when plans went over budget but thanks to a crowdfunding effort, the team was able to raise the necessary funds to complete the project. Local businesses volunteered materials and services, and sustainable wood suppliers, Kebony, donated materials for the exterior cladding. A group of volunteers took part in the construction of the cabins.
Spinn says the cabins have been a great success and have increased traffic significantly to the Storfjellet area so far. The second cabin will be built on Tyven, a mountain on the other side of Hammerfest so that the two cabins will stand watch over the city and look over to each other across the beautiful arctic landscape.