Manshausen Island is situated in the the Grøtøya strait off the coast of Northern Norway. Visitors to the 55-ac (22-ha) site can go kayaking, diving, cycling, climbing and hiking. Now, when they're done for the day, they can also relax in their own cabin that hangs over the chilly water below.
Bought in 2010 by polar explorer Børge Ousland, Manshausen Island is said to have once been part of one of the biggest trading posts in northern Norway, which was established in 1690. Now, Ousland hopes to make it a unique destination for those seeking outdoor activities coupled with comfortable and private accommodation.
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The cabins are similar in size and shape to the Skilpod homes that are being rolled out in Belgium, and they too are designed to hang over the water's edge. One end of the cabin is glazed and there is full height glazing either side of it, meaning occupants can look up and down the coast, as well as out over the water.
Designed by architect Snorre Stinessen, there are four cabins on Manshausen in total. Three of them are situated on an old stone jetty, with their locations considered in such a way as to make the most of the dramatic surrounding views and to afford the occupants privacy. The fourth cabin is raised above the other three on a natural ledge in the terrain.
The cabins can each accommodate two to four people, or a family of five. They feature a vestibule with access to a bedroom, in which there is a raised double bed. Below the bed there is space for storage, or for an additional mattress on which children can sleep. The cabins also have a bathroom, a kitchen, a dining area and a space to relax.
The cabins are also designed to have minimal environmental impact. They have a two-layer wooden construction, with an outer layer of larch that will turn silver-gray over time. The materials used are all natural, with the exception of the Corian used in the kitchen and bathroom, and the vestibule helps to heat or cool the cabins naturally, depending on the seasons. Some additional heating is required in colder months.
Stinessen began working on the Manshausen project in 2010. The cabins were mostly prefabricated in the Czech Republic, before being transported to the island for assembly. The cabins were completed in June this year.