Jon Danielsen Aarhus from Oslo designed Cabin Son, a holiday home by the water with a view of the Oslofjord and the island of Jeløya on the south coast of Norway.
The spruce-clad, L-shaped house was designed to follow the topography of the site’s naturally occurring rocky outcrops.
The spruce house is located on rocky terrain
Jon Danielsen Aarhus let the contours of the landscape determine the footprint and the orientation of the structure on three terrain levels to create a design that is sensitive to its surroundings.
The 70 square meter building serves as a weekend and holiday home for a small family all year round.
The social space opens onto the terrace
“The client wanted a vacation home and weekend home that would be better for her and her two young daughters, about an hour from busy Oslo where they live,” said Jon Danielsen Aarhus founder Jon Danielsen Aarhus.
“The property has been family-owned for generations and is between Moss and Son in an area with many vacation homes and permanent residents,” he told Dezeen.
Adjacent outdoor areas against steep surroundings
The exterior of the building was constructed from vertically clad spruce that reflects the gray hue of the rocky landscape. Inside, warm spruce on the walls and ceilings creates a contrasting color palette.
An existing cabin on the site inspired the new building and has been converted into an outbuilding that has a large kitchen and living room connected to the new structure.
“The inspiration came from a tiny, existing cabin on the property – both in terms of the landscape and orientation of the building, as well as the color scheme and roof angle,” said Aarhus.
The building lies deep in its surroundings
The newly built part of the project includes three bedrooms and a bathroom and adjoining outdoor areas. The outdoor, bedroom and social rooms each have their own levels.
“It was important that the different levels of the site express different levels within the building,” said Aarhus.
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The studio strategically placed the new building on ledges in the area. This way, there was no need to use foundations embedded in rocks and the building could sink into its surroundings, helping to preserve the landscape.
“The challenging terrain added a lot of energy to the design process,” explained Aarhus, adding that the building had to be placed “incredibly precisely” in order to achieve non-intrusive foundation methods.
“It is a respectful and sustainable strategy not to make irreversible tampering with the site,” he added.
The house has an open kitchen-living room
Inside, social areas like the dining and living areas extend onto a south-west facing terrace with views of the water, while bedrooms and bathrooms are along less exposed areas of the footprint to ensure privacy.
The view from inside the private rooms is framed by full-width windows of the water that extends the entire length of the building. A bridge along the west facade connects the two outdoor spaces.
A climbing wall in the hallway leading to the bedrooms gives the cabin a playful element that mimics the surroundings.
The use of cellulose-based insulation and a breathable moisture barrier contribute to the sustainability elements of the cabin and ensure a healthy indoor climate.
Oslo-based Kappland Arkitekter practice also built their Stokkøya cabin in a rugged landscape, while Snøhetta designed hiking cabins that sit next to a Norwegian glacier.
Photography is from Øystein Aspelund.