Located in Jotunheimen, Norway, 2068m above sea level, Snøhetta has designed the new main building of Fannaråken tourist cabin. Serving as Norway’s highest situated accommodation, the cabin plays a significant part in the history of Norway’s mountains, with the original cabin being built in 1926 as a weather observatory, due to its sweeping views of several of Norway’s national parks.
Fannaråken tourist cabin is owned and managed by the Norwegian Tourist Union (DNT), and consists of several smaller accompanying buildings which offer food and accommodation. Snøhetta has designed the new main building, consisting of a living room, dining room, kitchen and warehouse.
The dark color of the zink compliments the gray stone walls surrounding the house, connecting it visually to the existing black-painted buildings. Windows have been installed only where expedient, hence why the windowsills and shutters have been painted in a bright yellow, to reinforce their position and significance. Triangular windows have also been fitted to create a different view of the surrounding landscape.
Building at 2050m above sea level poses several challenges due to short seasons and extreme weather conditions. Hence why buildability and logistics are placed at the heart of the design process. The new Fannaråken cabin is a robust building with a prominent design based on large, clear shapes and a minimal amount of projections and ornaments.
The building’s shape is designed to follow Jotunheimen’s mountains, with a defined tip pointing to the West just below the tip of the mountain, followed by two flattened sections below. Sloping walls are anchored to the ground to create a sense of the building rising from the stone masonry below.
Inspired by station architecture and both local and historical modern research stations in alpine regions, the façade is a dark standing seam in zinc. This is a natural, breathing material, which changes depending on the weather conditions, and withstands being left untreated for a long period of time.
On the roof, solar panels have been fitted to enable the house to create its own energy, as well as a built-in strategy to collect rainwater. The inside is based on natural materials, such as stone, wood and wool, and the décor is modest and robust, yet still creating good safe spaces for work and collaboration.
The layout answers to the need to cater for several people with little staff, enabling opportunities to section off parts of the building when necessary.