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Aluminum Cabin by Arkitekter MNAL

The Aluminum Cabin is a 90sqm structure located in Vestfold, Norway within the stunning seaside archipelago. The site originally held a wooden cabin that had become worn out and impractical to use so Jarmund Vigsnaes AS Arkitekter MNAL presented a replacement design using the salt water resistant aluminum as the preferred building material. The size and form of the final design where based largely on the local building code, its restrictive allowances and site specific requirements.

Locating The Aluminum Cabin between two of the coastline rocks allows the building to settle down into the landscape rather then sitting high above it. The two rocks provide a section of camouflaging and shading from the highly reflective aluminum facade that either shines brightly when the sun’s rays bounce off of it or – when in the shade – blends harmoniously into the grey boulders that surround it.
The layout of the home uses the roof ridge as a divider with the private zones of bathrooms, bedroom and kitchen located on one side and the social zones on the other. Accenting this division is the large window glazings on the social side as well as the glass sliders that open to a small covered deck area strategically placed to enjoy the ocean views.
The large expanses of window glazings present an unobstructed view of both the ocean and the natural coastline.
The natural coastline makes the perfect resting spot for any number of animals and birds, and the homeowners can enjoy watching them from the comforts of their cabin.
The second of the three covered decks is located just outside the dining zone and here a similar removable canopy presents the perfect place to relax either in the sun or in the shade and if relaxing is not on the agenda, a walkway from the deck leads down to the ocean.
The third of the three covered decks is located over the entrance to The Aluminum Cabin, here the three interconnected volumes of the home are presented in an interesting and modernistic manner. The splaying out of the first two volumes creates a funnel effect leading the visitor to the main entrance, past a side door on the right, which leads to the ensuite, and a kitchen window on the left.
The entry door is glass and looks through the home to the ocean views beyond. A small high window next to the entry is the location of the powder room.
All three of the decks uses sailing cloth and ropes as the materials of choice for the awning and its rope system. Even boat cleats are uses on the wall to tie off the ropes.
While the facade of The Aluminum Cabin offers a modern approach to industrial design via its geometric volumes and 12×14″ pavers, the interior showcases a softer Scandinavian design aesthetic with its pale wood floors and white walls.
The social zone only shows hints of the aluminum façade through the framings to the window glazings. In this zone its all about pale woods and light furnishings creating a backdrop for the two focal points. The main focal point is the panoramic views, the second is the hanging fireplace with its ball shaped stove section and circular glass hearth. Pretty awesome.
Creating the conversation area is a steel based sofa and two bean bag chairs. The choice of bean bag chairs is a smart way of having multidirectional seating which is a must with views like that.
Since The Aluminum Cabin is only 90sqm, the entry leads right into the social zone, eliminating the usual foyer. Just to the left of the entry is the dining area and the enclosed kitchen. Past the dining area and at the far end is a bedroom.
The ensuite leaves the pale wood flooring and white walls behind in favour of the water friendly aluminum for walls and white tiles for the flooring. Wood is still present in the form of the window sill and trim but only there. The door that leads to the entry way is positioned on the outside wall.
Even though the home is designed with two bathrooms an outdoor shower is also available, creating the perfect place to rinse off salt and sand after a seaside dip.
While the cabin is located in such a way that an outdoor lifestyle is the preferred way to spend an afternoon, the interior volumes create a cozy and warm place to unwind before turning in for the night.
The location of the cabin is such that only the sounds of nature permeate the inner volumes as night approaches. These sounds come from the waves against the rocks, the wind in the trees and the wildlife passing by
Even after turning in, the homeowners and their guests can keep tabs on nature’s visitors from their sliding glass doors that open to the decks, and if something exciting is happening in the ocean or in the sky its just a few feet from the bed to the outdoors.
The riveted aluminum siding glows from the moonlight while the glazings glow from the interior lighting. The setting is serine and peaceful today, but tomorrow the weather could turn and the aluminum then becomes a necessary barrier to the salt spray.
Firewood keeps the cabin warm and is stacked at a distance. When living a remote lifestyle, animals big and small are part of the lifestyle and firewood is an ideal hiding place for smaller animals. For this reason firewood is always stacked at a distance. Living on the coast Firewood is also easily accessible but needs to be exposed to rain for approximately one year to wash the salt away.
With an ever available quantity of firewood, year round views and all the comforts of a city home, The Aluminum Cabin is both a picture perfect postcard and a idealistic lifestyle.
Even in this remote setting company in the form of neighbours are close at hand. Each neighbour is located to avoid site lines with each other, but each is nearby nevertheless.
The Aluminum Cabin is designed with three interconnected volumes that each have their own outdoor spaces. Folding glass doors accesses two of the decks and all three offer either sun or shelter options.
Jarmund/Vigsnaes AS Arkitekter MNAL
Photography by Nils Petter Dale


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