On a mountain peak in Norway’s Kvitfjell – the same place that hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics – sits an incredible back-to-nature build by Mork Ulnes Architects.
The Skigard Hytte hides amongst the snow and trees, an understated rectangular form at one with the landscape. Its facade is clad in the home’s eponym, skiguard (often referred to as roundpole fence in English), an unbarked, quarter-cut tree log that is traditionally laid diagonally and used as fencing by Norwegian farmers to keep their animals from escaping. The roughly-sawn timber not only acts as an homage to Norwegian culture, but also works to connect the home with the surrounding grove of trees.
Upon closer glance (and without the hindrance, but also beauty of the snowfall), Skigard Hytt’s furry top can be seen – a green roof purposefully overgrown with native grasses that are found on the ground below. These grasses can also can be found on some of Norway’s centuries-old buildings, another gentle cue that connects home and country.
Wide, wooden steps lead into the house, ending at a void that opens up to a view of the undulating forest and river beyond. Inside, the space is divided minimally into four rooms, each punctuated by a frustrum ceiling topped with a skylight. These act not only as a means for natural light to enter the home, but also allow the gently rolling clouds, falling snow or night time starscape to be enjoyed from the warmth within.
Skigard Hytt is especially captivating in the winter months, however even amid the green it is a thing of beauty. Despite this, the build takes a step back and always allows nature to occupy the spotlight. In addition to the skylights, natural palette and untouched forest surrounds, large, full-height windows frame the mountainous views, resulting in a home that makes a difficult decision of whether to stay inside with a warm cup of coffee, daydreaming through the glass, or rugging up and taking full advantage of the ski slopes below.
Photography by Bruce Damonte and Mork Ulnes Architects.