The Estonian architecture office KOKO Architects has completed several mountain weatherproof lodges for Stavanger Trekking Association, an association of lovers of hiking.
Project description: Stavanger Turistforening (STF) or the Stavanger Trekking Association has 25,000 members and provides active, versatile and environmentally friendly activities in the wilderness for young and old, families, amateur hikers and mountaineering enthusiasts. STF has 35 self-catering mountain lodges in the area. Visitors are usually members of Norway’s trekking associations. The system is built on trust: each person leaves money for the accommodation in a box inside the lodge or fills in an invoice form with their personal information. Since the lodges are mostly a long way from roads and traffic and difficult to get to, it is also the task of the visitors to take care of the visitors coming after them: everyone replenishes the food supply, brings firewood and cleans the lodge before they leave.
In 2013, the Norwegian Tourism Association organized an architectural competition to construct self-catering mountain lodges for the hiking trail around Lysefjord and on the rocky shores of the Soddatjørn Mountain Lake. The competition criteria stipulated that the lodges must be contemporary, easy to maintain and use ready-made factory modules in order to avoid long construction periods in the inaccessible mountains and unpredictable weather conditions.
The solution by KOKO architects takes the wilderness experience one step further. The group of buildings includes a main building, sleeping cabins, a toilet with a storage room and a sauna. Water can be taken from the lake and there is no mains electricity supply. The main building, sleeping cabins and sauna will be heated using wood. There are two gas stoves in the kitchen that visitors can use at the same time and a solar panel provides lighting. The hikers can wash themselves in the sauna where the washing room is located directly above a mountain stream.
The exterior finishes on the lodges are of rolled zinc, which resists the wind and snow and does not require maintenance for decades. The interior uses a lot of wood, which creates a warm and friendly atmosphere. All of the buildings have a wall of glass with panoramic views of the surrounding picturesque landscape. The main building with its rectangular plan and kitchen, living area and sleeping facilities, can accommodate 30 to 35 trekkers. The smaller lodges can accommodate five. The rooms in the main building are arranged to encourage interaction between different trekking parties. The mountain lodges were opened to all visitors and hikers in August 2016.
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