Hardy hiking cabins shaped to withstand high winds
On December 25, 2011, a cyclone destroyed Norway's Tungestølen Tourist Cabin, which had served hikers for over a century. Commissioned to create its replacement, Snøhetta did its best to ensure the same thing won't happen again any time soon and designed a cluster of cabins that are shaped to mitigate the wind's effects.
Snøhetta was hired to design the Tungestølen project by the local branch of the Norwegian National Trekking Association in Luster, western Norway, following an architecture competition. The project is situated on a small plateau overlooking the Jostedalen glacier and will eventually consist of nine cabins, though so far only three have been completed.
The main cabin contains a communal dining hall with large dining tables and a stone fireplace. Nearby lies a dormitory cabin that can sleep up to 30 people in close proximity, as well as another smaller private cabin. The interior decor is simple and utilitarian.
The cabins' unusual exterior appearance certainly makes them stand out, but serves a practical purpose too: their shape is designed to mitigate the effects of the strong winds experienced in the area. A Snøhetta representative told us that its team used specialist wind analysis software on a 3D model and consulted wind experts during the design process.
"With the ravaging of the original Tungestølen cabin fresh in mind, Snøhetta designed a new constellation of nine robust pentagonal and oblique cabins, made with wooden glu-lam frames, covered by sheets of CLT and clad in ore pine," explains the firm. "The outward-facing walls of the cabins have been given a beak-like shape to slow down strong winds sweeping up from the valley floor. Inside, the playful shape of the cabins frames the mountains and valleys outside through angular and panoramic windows, adding views and light to the spaces while encouraging individual contemplation and respite."