This Norwegian alpine cabin fits together like a 3D timber puzzle

A new treat awaits hikers in Hammerfest, Norway — perched high on a mountain is a contemporary hiking cabin engineered to provide comfort, views and architectural beauty above the Arctic Circle. Designed by Norwegian design studio SPINN Arkitekter and U.K.-based FORMAT Engineers, the recently completed cabin on the mountain Storfjellet is one of two Hammerfest Hiking Cabins—the second will be built on Tyven in 2019 — created to promote hiking in the mountains around the region. The wooden structure features a cross-laminated timber shell comprising 77 panels that the architects say “fit together like a 3D puzzle.”

circular timber cabin on mountain top with northern lights in the background

Commissioned by the Hammerfest chapter of The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) and brought to life by crowdfunding and community support, the Hammerfest Hiking Cabins were designed to not only provide a warm and weather-resistant rest stop, but also a beautiful wooden structure that could serve as an attraction in itself. SPINN also wanted the cabin to blend in with the local terrain and based the building’s appearance off of a large boulder, hence the double-curved shape.

interior of wooden cabin with hexagon timber panels

timber cabin on mountainous terrain at sunset

Computer modeling and mapping technology were used throughout the design and construction of the project, from the 3D site mapping carried out with a drone and photogrammetry software to the assembly of the prefabricated CLT panels in a controlled warehouse environment. The design team also used Sketchup, Rhino and customized scripting tools to optimize the cabin’s shape. Snow and extreme wind simulations were performed to test the resiliency of the design, while 3D printing was used to test assembly and cladding options.

timber cabin on mountainous terrain at sunset

timber cabin on mountainous terrain at sunset

Related: Snøhetta designs healing forest cabins for patients at Norway’s largest hospitals

Volunteers built the first Hammerfest Hiking Cabin in 2018, with the 15-square-meter prefabricated CLT cabin structure assembled in over four workdays. After prefabrication, the cabin was split into two pieces and transported on a flat bed lorry to Storfjellet, where it was then lifted into place and winched together. The full-height window, fireplace, ramp and interior furnishings were fitted into place on site. The estimated budget per cabin is 100,000 Euros.

+ SPINN Arkitekter

+ FORMAT Engineers

Images by Tor Even Mathisen

interior of wooden cabin with wood furniture

timber cabin on mountainous terrain at sunset

timber cabin on mountainous terrain at sunset

timber cabin on mountainous terrain at sunset

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