Norwegian practice Helen & Hard completes a pair of wooden cabins in the forested hillsides around the Hardanger fjord above Odda. Responding to its spectacular location, the treehouse creates a space that truly embodies what it means to dwell in nature.
Woodnest treehouses are suspended 5 – 6m above the forest floor and accessed via a timber bridge, which lifts the visitors off the ground and up into the forest trees. The structure is fastened with a steel collar to the individual trunk of a living pine tree.
The treehouses are accessed by a 20-minute walk from the town of Odda through a steep winding path in the forest on the edge of the fjord.
"Stemming from the client's wish to create a unique spatial experience that connects to both the ordinary and extraordinary sensation of climbing and exploring trees, our aim was to create a space that truly embodies what it means to dwell in nature." Explains the Studio.
Once inside the treehouse, the 15 sq.m. space is organised around the central tree trunk. The structure has four sleeping places, a bathroom, a kitchen area and a living room. The full-height glazing on the exterior offers views of the fjords down below.
"From here, one can look out and experience the vast view out through the trees, down to the fjord below and across towards the mountains beyond." Said Helen & Hard.
Inspired by the Norwegian cultural traditions of vernacular architecture, at the core of the project is the appreciation of timber. The architects wanted to experiment with wood's material potential and decided to structurally create the treehouse from a series of radial glue-laminated timber ribs and supported structurally by the tree trunk itself.
On the exterior of the structures, untreated natural timber shingles form the outer layer giving treehouses their distinctive appearance. The external façade will weather over time and develop a natural patina that will merge and blend in the surrounding forest.
Helen & Hard said, "Woodnest is a project that quietly sits in an extraordinary situation. The architecture aims to allow people to pause and appreciate the smaller details of the natural environments we inhabit; the grain of timber, the daily rhythm of the forest and the sensation of dwelling in nature."
Designers: Helen & Hard
Location: Odda, Norway
Client: Sally & kjartan Aano, Woodnest
Status: Completed (2020)
Area: 15 sq.m.
Team: Siv Helene Stangeland, Reinhard kropf, Dag Strass, Simon Baumann, Odin Olesen
Structural Engineer: Oddvin Myklebust, nordplan
Timber Construction: Røynstrand
Image: Sindre Ellingsen
We are architects. Our firm was founded in Stavanger, Norway in 1996, and now has offices in Stavanger and Oslo. We are a collective of 26 people from many different countries and cultural backgrounds.