On the outskirts of Kvitfjell, a Norwegian ski resort built for the 1994 Winter Olympics in nearby Lillehammer, an unassuming cabin sits on the mountainside more than 3,000 feet above sea level. The house, called Skigard Hytte Cabin, belongs to architects Casper and Lexie Mork-Ulnes, whose namesake firm is based in San Francisco and Oslo. “The project brief was to create a small ski cabin for our family that captured the views of the Gudbrandsdal Valley from every room,” says Casper. “We wanted a mountain cabin that engaged with the landscape, and this led us, in part, to try to preserve the natural terrain.”
The home is actually stilted, thus avoiding the need to make substantial changes to the site to build a traditional foundation.
The home not only leaves the landscape relatively untouched but it also blends in well with its surroundings. It’s clad with skigard, a traditional Norwegian fence made of rough-hewn logs placed diagonally on posts, typically used by farmers to enclose animal pastures.“We had seen the fencing on many farms in the local area and loved how it collected snow between the logs in the wintertime but in the summer allowed for light to pass through,” says Casper. “Since the home is placed in a lightly wooded area, we liked how the use of the logs also camouflaged the house within the trees of the forest.” Over time, the wood will develop a patina that will even further enmesh the structure with the scenery.
Inside the cabin, you’ll find even more wood—and plenty of it. “We wanted the focus of the experience from within the house to be what is going on outside of the house, so we used as few materials inside as possible to minimize the distractions from the nature around us,” says Casper. While the wood lends a cozy atmosphere to the interior, it also provides a perfect neutral backdrop for the mountain views through the floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides of the cabin.
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