CK Nor Bygg AS: A seamless blend of architecture and nature
TEXT: Alyssa Nilsen | PHOTOS: Per Pande-Rolfsen
When Architect Per Pande-Rolfsen was asked to design a cabin blending seamlessly into the Norwegian mountains, with panoramic views of the scenery, he jumped at the idea. Playing with the elements and combining natural materials with innovative ideas, he designed a building challenging the idea of what a cabin should be and look like.
Currently stepping away from his own company and into architecture firm CK Nor Bygg AS, renowned Norwegian architect Per Pande-Rolfsen has more than 35 years’ experience of designing housing and commercial buildings behind him, in addition to working with interior and furniture design, regulation and planning.
With extensive knowledge and clients ranging from individual customers to large financial groups, the Norwegian state and The Royal Court, Pande-Rolfsen drew inspiration and experience from his substantial CV and portfolio when asked to design the cabin in the mountains.
Before he even started designing the building, he, along with the owner of the cabin, went to the plot of land high in the mountains and spent a whole day getting to know the area, the geography and the surroundings.
“We brought food and coffee and spent hours in the heather just looking around,” says Pande-Rolfsen. “We then walked around, outlining the plot and taking note of each bump, ditch, anthill and tree. This also gave the client the time to tell me about his dreams and visions for the cabin.”
The main focus: a view of the nature reserve Hallingskarvet. And not only should it blend seamlessly into the surroundings, but it should also be sustainable and near maintenance-free.
A seamless extension of the terrain
The terrain of the plot was a slope, but rather than levelling the ground to make for a plane building, they decided on building the cabin into the ground, making it a seamless extension of the existing terrain. And rather than building a multi-storey structure, they decided on a single-level construction, allowing the natural rise and fall of the terrain to give the various rooms an added dynamic and a feeling of space and distance. This would also leave the surrounding nature as the focal point, rather than the cabin itself.
In addition, the structure of the cabin needed to be built to withstand the elements, whether facing heavy snowfall, autumn storms, or frosty winters. This was the starting point of the design, centring on the panoramic windows that visually connect the cabin’s living room to the outside. The interior of the cabin ties it all together by continuing the use of natural materials such as stone and wood, which adds to the sense of connection with the nature outside. The colour scheme inside is subdued, so as not to take away from the light and the colours of the surroundings. By avoiding attention-seeking colourful and bright interiors, nature and the local scenery are allowed to serve as the work of art and become the focal point.
The luxurious cabin offers not only a spacious living room with a fireplace and dining area, but also a top-modern kitchen, three bedrooms and a bathroom, as well as a sauna with views of the mountains.
From the outside, however, the cabin is barely visible from a distance. Built into the ground, using materials matching the colour scheme in the area, the cabin is a far cry from the wooden palaces often found in the Norwegian mountains. In the winter, when snowfall is heavy, the large windows and the weathervane are the only giveaways that there is more than just rock and moss here.
A room with a fjord view
Pande-Rolfsen is also working on some seaside projects. New buildings are currently being built at a resort by the water on the island of Senja in the north of Norway, with panoramic views of the fjord, the midnight sun and the Aurora Borealis – the northern lights. Pande-Rolfsen, together with DI interior design, has designed the resort’s ‘Aurora rooms’, named after said Aurora Borealis – superior suites designed to host the big occasions in life, be it a honeymoon, a proposal, or simply a luxurious experience out of the ordinary. In addition, he has designed cabins in the area clad in a type of wood that naturally impregnates over time, blending them with the surrounding colours, but with an eye-catching silhouette against the sky.
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