Cabin Kiladalen in Sweden takes architectural reuse to the next level

Cabin Kiladalen by Vardehaugen started its life in an Oslo exhibition, but has now found a second life as a Swedish lakeside retreat

exterior of Cabin Kiladalen
(Image credit: Sigurd Fandango)

Cabin Kiladalen takes architectural reuse to a new level. Håkon Matre Aasarød, founder of Norway based Vardehaugen, the home's designer, offers some background on the Swedish lake house retreat: 'The two pavilions were originally an indoor design exhibition in Norway,' he says.

Cabin Kiladalen among trees

(Image credit: Sigurd Fandango)

Cabin Kiladalen: a building's second life

The architect continues: 'The pavilions were initially designed as part of the indoor exhibition “Rethink – Sustainable Design”, at the annual Oslo Design Fair in 2019. While the traditional exhibition design expires as soon as the fair is over, Vardehaugen designed a sustainable exhibition built to last. As soon as the fair was over, the pavilions were dismantled, flat-packed, transported from Norway and re-erected as recycled cabins in Sweden.'

view from Cabin Kiladalen

(Image credit: Sigurd Fandango)

Inspired by the 'classic modern pavilion', the team worked with the low volumes and their horizontality, flipping one to place it on its narrow side, and perpendicularly against the other. This way, one is lower, focusing on views of the lake, and the serene waters ahead; the other becomes a little lookout tower and offers vistas of trees and the region's lush, green foliage. 

interior of Cabin Kiladalen

(Image credit: Sigurd Fandango)

Everywhere, wood prevails. It features in the structure's CLT frame, the interior wall cladding and much of the furniture inside – linking through the material use to the natural context beyond. 

The compact retreat contains a flowing living space and bedroom on one side, and a mini contemplation family room in the tall volume. 

wooden interior at Cabin Kiladalen

(Image credit: Sigurd Fandango)

The clients write: 'The cabin is sheltered by the forest, almost like it’s hiding. It is quiet to stay here, calm and very relaxing. But simultaneously things happen: the great panorama catches the ever-changing view. When the fjord freezes to ice in winter, the ice fishermen are in place, and ice skaters whiz by. In autumn we gather mushrooms and berries. We swim, paddle, fish, and have family and guests over for dinner on the terrace.'

rear vista of Cabin Kiladalen

(Image credit: Sigurd Fandango) 

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).