Gapahuk Cabin
Courtesy Snøhetta Rendering of Snøhetta's Gapahuk

As soon as the ice melts in Norway, construction can begin on the first of the Snøhetta-designed Gapahuk cabins, a 1,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, wood-clad shelter designed for Norwegian cabin company Rindalshytter. Launched in April, the prefabricated structures begin at 1.3 million NOK (approximately $155,670), says lead architect Anne Cecilie Haug, who spoke to ARCHITECT about the concept.

What is a Norwegian gapahuk?
A gapahuk is a simple form of shelter you make when you want to live outside. It’s not even a tent; it’s just a roof, basically. You can make it out of branches, or you tie a tarp between two trees at a slope so water will fall off.

Who was Gapahuk designed for?
The client was the company that makes prefab cabins. They’ve done that for a lot of years in Norway, and it’s been a tradition for a long time to have really old-fashioned cabins. … But now they have seen that younger people want a cabin that’s more related to their lifestyle and how they live—they want it to look good, but good is not necessarily the same as old-fashioned. So they came and asked us to make something that was new and modern, but still had a lot of the traditional elements. Since they didn’t have a specific site—it’s designed to be placed by the sea, [or] it could be in the mountains, in the forest—we had to work with a few elements and try to connect those elements to nature, to the ground.

Has Snøhetta worked on other prefabricated structures like this?
No, not really. At Snøhetta, the connection between nature and structure is important to us, so every time we have a new project, we have landscape architects work on the elements of the siting for the project. So it was an interesting challenge for us—to still make something that relates to nature [even] if we don’t have a particular site.

For more images of Snøhetta’s Gapahuk, visit ARCHITECT’s Project Gallery.