Typologically hovering between a folly, a house and a viewing platform, this new cabin in the barren, treeless moorlands of the Hardangervidda National Park in Norway seems to be many things rolled into one. Designed by Gartnerfuglen Arkitekter, a young Oslo-based architecture studio headed by Astrid Rohde Wang, Ole Larsen and Olav Lunde Arneberg, Thunder Top is the first cabin to complete by the dynamic trio.

Created for a client with a growing extended family of children and grandchildren, the structure sits on the plot of an existing holiday cabin built in the 1980s in the traditional Telemark region vernacular style. Adapting the original building to accommodate the increasing numbers of its occupants, the architects designed a new structure within a simple triangular outline, featuring a stepped timber roof. Going up those thirty roof steps unveils a panoramic view of the nearby lake and plains. The facades are clad in ore-pine, (a type of cured pinewood) known for being one of the region’s oldest and most hardwearing construction materials – and leaving the hardwood untreated makes for an extra sturdy and largely maintenance-free exterior.

The interior is effectively one big, double-height room, which is attached to the older structure by a glass corridor that squeezes in a wardrobe and a utility sink. The extra space is used as a family hobby room, a weekend office or just a place to relax and be inspired by the views.

The idea is that this humble cabin will slowly become at one with its environment. ‘As everything put here, from the outside, it is slowly appropriated by nature,’ says Rohde Wang. ‘The cabin is an inhabitable beacon, a man-made peak in the rolling fells of Hardangervidda, worn down by glaciers during the ice age.’ §