House clad with wood and views of a Norwegian forest

This compact house, clad in wood and overlooking a lake north of Oslo, work of the studio Mork Ulnes Architects, which radiate out towards the landscape to frame distinct views and shelter a pair of patios.

The house is situated on a hilltop at the northern edge of Nordmarka – a wilderness around an hour north of the Norwegian capital. From its elevated position, the house clad with wood looks down onto Mylla Lake.

The starting point for the design of the house clad with wood was the idea of the tradition Norwegian “hytte” – a small and basic shelter containing a series of compact rooms.

Typically these buildings have outdoor toilets and no running water.

The layout and materiality are informed by its context, with the offset wings creating space for a pair of sheltered patios that are orientated to catch the sun at different times of day.

The exterior is entirely wrapped in untreated pine that will weather and turn grey over time.

The house is a very straightforward response to its context, while at the same time generating a unique experience.

Rather than opening up towards a single view of the surroundings, the four volumes each contain different functional zones with a specific view of the lake, the hillside, the forest or the sky. The interior plan is kept as open as possible, with the high vaulted ceilings forming a canopy above three main functional cores that delineate the spaces and contain necessary amenities.

The first core contains the kitchen, closet and bathroom, the second accommodates a another bathroom and storage, while the third conceals further storage and mechanical equipment.

These structures also help to partition off the two bedrooms and children’s bunk room from the main living area, which extends through the centre of the house and into the fourth wing.

Internal surfaces are predominantly lined in pine plywood, which is treated with lye and white oil to create a warm and bright appearance throughout the house.

The same material is used for custom-made furniture including bed frames, bunk beds, benches, shelves and the dining table.


Photography: Bruce Damonte.