A modern coastal cabin in Norway | TYIN tegnestue
The western coast of Norway was formed by glaciers scouring the earth down to bedrock, carving deep fjords, and leaving behind thousands of islands. One of those islands is Skardsøya, a two or three hour drive from Trondheim. There on the rocky and marshy coastline is a family vacation cabin designed by TYIN tegnestue Architects and built by the owners themselves.
The cabin is a shed-roofed volume with a small storage shed connected to the back. The rock upon which the cabin sits slopes from one end of the cabin to the other, and the floor plan steps down with the terrain. That avoided the expense of either blasting the rock or of building a taller foundation. The roof, however, extends as a single surface across the entire length of the cabin, at less cost and without the complexity of multiple roof planes. The extra interior height gained at the low end of the cabin was then put to good use for a loft space.
The storage shed helps to shelter the main entrance door. It opens to a hallway in the middle of the cabin with the open living area up a couple of steps to the left and the sleeping quarters to the right. Down two steps is an enclosed bedroom plus a sleeping nook for the kids. Together with the loft above, there is quite a bit of sleeping capacity for a cabin with a footprint of only 60 m2 (645 ft2).
By keeping the cabin low to the ground with glazed openings extending down to the floor level, the architects created a very strong visual connection between inside and out. Sitting in the living room, you can easily see the ground surface right outside. Windows are also perfectly placed to allow panoramic views while bathing or while lying down in the main bedroom.
The surprisingly spacious bathroom is on the middle entry level. There is both a bathtub and a shower, which is enclosed in a secondary compartment along with the toilet.
The arrangement of the floor plan places the kitchen back-to-back with the bathroom and a utility closet in the hall, centralizing the plumbing and minimizing pipe runs. It also eliminates any need to run pipes in the exterior walls, an important consideration in a freezing climate.
The cabin is clad in spruce, which has been left to weather naturally. It appears to have a vertical board-on-board roof, a traditional roofing technique in parts of northern Europe. The modern version likely includes a secondary waterproofing layer beneath the boards. The wood terrace at the back and side was designed to “flow” into the bedrock, integrating the cabin into its setting.
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