Who wouldn’t love to spend their winter vacations in the middle of snowy woods in northern Norway? Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur is the norwegian architecture studio behind the creation of this stunning contemporary family vacation home in Tromsø, Norway. Join us on this exciting trip to a fjord in a dreamy landscape in northern Europe.
Outside view. Photo by Terje Arntsen, courtesy of Snorre Stinessen
Text by Snorre Stinessen
» Malangen Retreat is the homonymous peninsula. It is an hour’s drive south of Tromsø in Northern Norway. The site is positioned on a ridge rising from the fiord below and overlooks a natural opening in the forest.
The retreat is laid out east to west effectively shielding the opening in the forest, which is only discovered once you enter through the large oak sliding door from the outside courtyard. The clients are a family with small children, and also wanted this place to give room for invitation of the larger family and friends.
Nut by LZF Lamps. Photo by Terje Arntsen, courtesy of Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur
The conceptual layout of Malangen Retreat project was conceived as several individual volumes connected via in-between spaces and a central winter garden, placed on a natural shelf in the terrain.
The organisation provides both privacy and room for several activities at the same time. It also reduces energy needed for heating in the cold climate, as various rooms and activities will require different temperatures. The central winter garden, with fireplace and outdoor kitchen, function as the entrance to the building.
Kid enjoying the views. Photo by Steve King, courtesy of Snorre Stinessen.
From here the retreat opens up to the natural clearing in the forest and from here you enter into either the main building or the annexe. Each group of rooms are done as separate volumes to achieve an additional layer of privacy, but also to enhance the room’s contact to the clearing in the forest and the contact to the outdoors in the transition spaces in between.
Nut by LZF Lamps. Photo by Terje Arntsen, courtesy of Snorre Stinessen.
A few steps lead down to the open space kitchen and living room set low in the terrain and overlooking the fiord and the afternoon sun to the west. A dedicated exit from the kitchen lead to the south-facing outdoor area where the family enjoy their dinners on warm summer days. The separation into volumes seek to emphasize the transition between spaces and activities and tell a story of everyday journeys.
Link by LZF Lamps. Photo by Terje Arntsen, courtesy of Snorre Stinessen.
The volumes are all made in wood with the exterior cladding (both indoors and outdoors) in cedar panel which was treated with iron sulfate and kept outside for months before assembly to achieve an even patina regardless of being outdoors or indoors.
The interior surfaces are mainly in knot free oak to achieve a warmer contrast to the outside of the volumes. The wooden volumes are all slightly elevated in relation to the in-between spaces.
All the in-between spaces of this Malangen Retreat have a concrete floor to emphasize that these spaces relate to the terrain and the outdoors in a different manner. The ceilings in these spaces are all made of oak slats that through the treatment with iron sulfate turn naturally black because of the high content of tannin.
Malangen Retreat outside view. Photo by Terje Arntsen, courtesy of Snorre Stinessen.
The airy and black ceilings retreat from the visual connection to the outside, while contrasting the visually cold of the outdoors and providing a softer acoustics at the same time. The sauna is only separated from the outside by a large frameless glass, underlining the secluded privacy of the clearing in the forest, the interiors custom designed in cedar.
A major part of the interiors in Malangen Retreat, such as the dining table, dining bench, beds, wardrobes, the fireplace and sliding door in the wintergarden, etc, are custom designed by Stinessen.
Snowy view from Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen.
Images are courtesy of Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur. Photographers are Terje Arnsten and Steve King.