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This mountain hunting lodge is situated on the edge of the Åkrafjorden fjord in western Norway and was a unique undertaking for Oslo-based firm Snøhetta. A tiny cabin dissolves into the rocky, heather-shrouded terrain. The shelter, built for prominent businessman Osvald Bjelland to use during hunting excursions.

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-03-James-Silverman-759x533 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

This inhospitable environment dictated how the cabin would be structured and built, resulting in a highly choreographed construction process. The hut was built in the lowlands by a local carpenter, dismantled, and then flown piecemeal by helicopter to the site to be assembled again. The builder even had a separate cabin flown in so that he could live on the site during construction weeks.

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-04-James-Silverman-759x569 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

“Because it’s such a beautiful and remote area we wanted a building that blends with the scale and the shape of the hills around it, Two teardrop-shaped steel beams make up the frame and are connected by hand-hewn timber planks. The designers covered the roof with native grasses and made an exterior wall from local stones, camouflaging the hut, so “you would only see the small curve, which could be mistaken for being a rock or a hill,” – explains senior architect Margrethe Lund

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-05-James-Silverman-759x530 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

The structure is composed of two curved steel beams spanned by timber, and the architects consider the Hunting Lodge to be ‘a meeting between modern expression and traditional Norwegian mountain cabins.’ This remote shelter is accessible only by foot or horseback making it an especially welcoming destination to reach.

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-07-James-Silverman-759x536 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

The curve of the roof, rising to 14 feet, allowed him to insert a loft at that end, thereby expanding the sleeping capacity of the 215-square-foot footprint. Below the loft is the kitchen. Occupying the rest of the ground level is the living area, where built-in banquettes surround a fireplace on all four sides.

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-08-James-Silverman-759x517 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

This sloping roof is topped with native grass — rendering the hut virtually indistinguishable from its surroundings at certain angles — while the perpendicular end face appears to be a drystone wall composed of rock sympathetic to the local geology.

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© James Silverman


The hunting lodge is beautifully situated, alone beside a lake in the untouched mountain areas close to Åkrafjorden in the western part of Norway. It is accessible only by foot or horseback.

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-10-James-Silverman-759x569 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

The integration of the hut into the landscape has been an important part of the concept. The terrain is characteristic with grass, heather and rocks, and the hut’s shape, orientation, and materials are dictated by this.

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-11-James-Silverman-759x978 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

The structure consists of two curved steel beams, connected with a continuous layer of hand cut logs of timber on top – a meeting between modern expression and traditional Norwegian mountain cabins.

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-12-James-Silverman-759x538 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

The roof “grows out of” the landscape, covered with grass. The materials of the facades are local stone, tar treated wood and glass.

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-15-James-Silverman-759x569 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-16-James-Silverman-759x533 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

Our challenge in this task was designing a mountain hut of maximum 35m2 with facilities for 21 persons. In order to achieve space for a amount of guests in a tiny space, we found inspiration in old traditions: a central fireplace as the gathering point. The beds along the walls works as seating in the evening – one furniture for the social, eating, and sleeping. A narrow zone by the entrance has equipment for cooking and storage.

Akrafjorden-By-Snohetta-19-James-Silverman-759x353 Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta

© James Silverman

Project Data:

Project name: Åkrafjorden
Location: Etne, Hordaland, Norway
Coordinates: n/a
Type: Shelter / Cabin / Lodge
Project Area: 35 sqm
Status: Built
Completion Year: 2012


  • 2014 – Architectural Record Awards – Category: Coziest Cabin – Editors’ Picks: Best of 2014

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Osvald M. Bjelland
Architects: Snøhetta – Akershusstranda 21, N-0150 Oslo, Norway
Project Architect: Margrethe Lund
Glasswork: Kraft Glass & Aluminum Design
Stonework: Granit Kleber
Metalwork: Hellesøy Verft
Text Description: © Courtesy of Snøhetta, archrecord.construction, interiordesign
Images: © Snøhetta, James Silverman, Trygve Øvstebø

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Åkrafjorden / Snøhetta
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