Tough off-grid cabins offer respite for Norway's hikers

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The cabins opened in August(Credit: Tõnu Tunnel)

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In 2013, the Norwegian Tourism Association hosted an architectural competition seeking hardy self-catering mountain lodges for installation on one of its hiking trails. Koko architects got the nod with its Skåpet Mountain Lodges: a cluster of off-grid cabins that need little maintenance and can keep up to 35 hikers warm and safe even in the harshest conditions.

Located in Soddatjørn, on a hiking trail in Rogaland, the project comprises a main building, sleeping quarters, and bathroom facilities which also include a storage room and sauna.

The cabins combine to a total floorspace of 350 sq m (3,767 sq ft) and are clad in rolled zinc, which Koko architects says will ensure they don't need maintenance for decades, even while being battered by harsh mountainside weather conditions. The interiors are finished in plain wood and each cabin has impressive panoramic views.

The cabins were were built using ready-made prefabricated modules to speed up assembly time on site.

Owing to their remote location, the Skåpet Mountain Lodges operate off-grid. Water is taken from a nearby lake and heating comes from wood-burning stoves. The sauna is fired with wood too, while two gas stoves are available to heat food. Electricity for lighting comes from a solar panel array.

The cabins operate on a trust system. Visitors are asked to leave money to cover their accommodation and to clean up after themselves, ensuring plenty of food and firewood is left for the next visitors.

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