Norse House

Designing a Trekking Cabin

Norse House, an Icelandic trekking cabin, is designed to be a fusion of traditional and modern architecture in Iceland. The form and materials of the cabin respond to the programmatic needs of the interior, the external environmental forces, site conditions and views to the surroundings. The cabin provides a comfortable place where visitors can have a truly local experience. There is place to sleep on eight bunk beds, a lounge area to enjoy, a kitchen, bathroom, large bookcase/storage wall and even a hot tub. The main structure of Norse House is composed of a wooden beam structure that wraps over the interior space, connected by cross-beams and clad in a corrugated tin roof that covers wooden panels and insulation. The red tin roof and angular geometry makes a striking impression against the dramatic and beautiful landscape of Iceland.


Form Follows Function

The slope of the roof and orientation of the corrugated metal allows for water and snow melt to drain to the back of the roof, where it is collected, filtered and stored in the kitchen. A wood stove is located against the window wall, which offsets the cool air and evenly distributes heat throughout the space. The living room is two steps lower than the sleeping spaces and provides a comfortable seating area that is oriented towards the windows. Norse House is designed to be able to either stand alone or to be built into the ground in order to increase insulation. All materials needed to construct Norse House fit into a single 20’ long shipping container that could be transported via helicopter to any remote hiking location. 


THE Result

The form of the building, essentially a modernized A-frame, maximizes the structural efficiency, interior use of space and views to the outside. By consolidating the beds, bathroom and kitchen along the back wall, the rest of the space is freed up for communal use. The wooden beam ribs allow for the space to feel open and tall, while also creating an interesting play on traditional wooden beam structures found in Iceland. Norse House is an ideal place for hikers to stay in Iceland in any season.



*Competition Entry

Weston Baker Creative Group



Concept Design, Schematic Design, Architectural Rendering, Interiors, Photorealistic Images


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