Cosy up in this retreat that will warm your heart with wood and spaces for the family

Malangen peninsula is an hour´s drive south of Tromsø in Northern Norway. The site is positioned on a ridge rising from the fjord below and overlooks a natural opening in the forest.

The cabin is laid out east to west effectively shielding the opening in the forest. The clients had a clear wish for enough space to welcome family and friends visiting. To gather at the family retreat for weekends or holidays is a beautiful tradition, but the challenge is often that given a few days you also long for some privacy again. Hence, the architects gave allowance for interaction and privacy: a main area and an annexe separated by the central covered courtyard which is where you enter their retreat through the oak sliding door.

Each group of rooms is done as separate segments or volumes to achieve an additional layer of privacy, but also to enhance the main room´s contact to the clearing in the forest and the contact to the outdoors in the transition spaces in between.

A few steps lead down to the open space kitchen and living room set low in the terrain and overlooking the fjord and the afternoon sun to the west.

The volumes are all made in wood with the exterior cladding (both indoors and outdoors) in cedar panel which was treated with iron sulfate and kept outside for months before assembly to achieve an even patina regardless of being outdoors or indoors. The interior surfaces are mainly made of knot-free oak to achieve a warmer contrast to the outside of the volumes. The volumes are all slightly elevated in relation to the in-between spaces.

All the in-between spaces have a concrete floor to emphasise that these spaces relate to the terrain and the outdoors in a different manner. The ceilings in these spaces are all made of oak slats that through the treatment with iron sulfate turn naturally black because of the high content of tannin. The airy and black ceilings retreat from the visual connection to the outside, while contrasting the visually cold of the outdoors and providing a softer acoustics at the same time.


Images: Stinessen Arkitektur