Socially distant huts designed in the French countryside
Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter completes landscape hotel 48° Nord in the French countryside, featuring a series of 14 guest cottages and cabins
It’s taken eight years for this remarkable French hotel to rise from the wooded hills around the village of Breitenbach in the French Alsace. Located about an hour south-west of Strasbourg, the Hotel 48° Nord was designed by the Norwegian studio Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter in collaboration with the French firm ASP Architecture. The key element of the hotel are the 14 hytte, self-contained guest cottages and cabins, that are scattered across the sloping meadow. The architects have created four distinct types of hytte, ranging from 20 sq m to 60 sq m and arranged in groups.
At the bottom of the hill is a main building containing the reception, restaurant and a spa, together with staff accommodation. Parking is set well away from the ‘rooms’, creating an aura of splendid isolation for guests. Just four trees were felled for the construction and another 1,000 shrubs planted to green the two-hectare site. Sustainability is a core component of the project, with high levels of insulation, local Alsatian chestnut used for wooden cladding and the restaurant placing great emphasis on local produce, with its own vegetable plot.
The four cabin types are given names that reflect their forms, from the four Fjell (‘mountain’) cabins, with their pointed pitched roofs and u-shaped plan, which each contain two rooms over two levels, to the compact Eføy (‘ivy’) with its double-bed set beneath a mezzanine living area, and the Gress (‘grass’), which contains a single open-plan living and sleeping space. Finally, there are the elegant Tre cabins – ‘tree’ – which house four beds over three levels, with far-reaching views from the top floor. Each hytte sits lightly on the ground, with folded timber forms inside and out and large glazing to connect occupants with nature.
The project is a true blend of Scandinavian design sensibilities with the hospitality and culinary traditions of the Alsace. Reiulf Ramstad worked closely with the hotel’s owner, Emil Leroy-Jönsson, and the project enjoyed strong local support in Breitenbach, a community that has taken a pioneering ecological approach to farming, food production and ecological business. §