A Unique Retreat in the Norwegian Forest by Mork-Ulnes Architects
In the heart of the Norwegian forest, just north of Oslo, Mork-Ulnes Architects has created Mylla, a unique retreat that redefines the traditional Norwegian hytte. With over a quarter of all Norwegians owning at least one cabin, hytter are an integral part of the country’s culture. However, Mylla breaks the mold, offering a modern, functional, and expansive interior.
The 84-square meter building sits on a hilltop in Jevnaker County, at the northern edge of Nordmarka, a vast wilderness just an hour’s drive from the city. The location was chosen for its proximity to the city and easy access to cross-country skiing and fishing at Mylla Lake below.
Designing a Compact, Efficient, and Function-Driven Cabin
Mylla was designed for an American family who fully embraced the outdoors lifestyle of Norway. The family requested three bedrooms, two small and efficient bathrooms, a small annex for ski waxing and storage, a two-person sauna, and a direct connection to the outside. However, the architects’ innovative approach pushed the envelope of what a traditional Norwegian hytte could be.
The pinwheel-shaped Mylla cabin frames four distinct views of the rolling hillsides, the sky, and the towering forest. The design maintains the hytte’s utilitarian character but creates a relationship with its landscape, resulting in an interior that feels more expansive and generous.
The interior is a free-flowing landscape, with 2.4m to 4.3m high vaulted ceilings forming a uniting canopy. Three functional cores house the kitchen, coat closet and bathroom, bathroom and storage, and mechanical equipment. Special attention to detailing enhances the feeling of openness and privacy, with each bedroom having two access doors and transom glass above each door to reduce sound transmission while allowing the ceiling to expand uninterrupted across the interior.
Creating a Warm and Light-Filled Interior with Pine Plywood and Concrete
To create a warm and light-filled interior, the architects used pine plywood treated with lye and white oil. Custom-made plywood furniture, including bed frames, bunk beds, couch, dining table, benches, and shelves, complements the concrete floors, countertops, and bathroom walls. The untreated pine exterior is designed to turn silver over time, blending with the snow in winter and aging gracefully in the forested landscape.
In summary, Mylla is a modern take on the traditional Norwegian cabin, offering a functional and expansive interior that fully embraces the outdoors lifestyle of Norway. Its innovative design redefines what a hytte can be, maintaining its utilitarian character while forming a relationship with its surroundings.
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