words Beatrice Galilee
“Maybe it’s unromantic” says Fantastic Norway’s Håkon Matre Aasarød, describing a little black and white cabin on an exposed rocky hill on the coast of Fosen, two hours north-west of Trondheim. “But we didn’t want it to disappear into the landscape. Norwegians always try to hide architecture with nature; they have too much respect for the unbuilt. We disagree.”
The striking ocean-facing cabin was built for Aasarød’s mother and is Oslo-based architect Fantastic Norway’s first completed building. It is full of well-considered details. The architects have created heavily inflected exterior walls, designed to reduce impact from the strong winds, but also to create wind-free pockets of outdoor space. These are orientated for sunrise and sunset and are painted bright white, reflecting a local tradition for the prettiest parts of houses to be painted white.
Although Fantastic Norway claims not to associate with the local, more humble Norwegian vernacular, the building balances the style of a traditional Norwegian holiday home with something contemporary and bespoke. It is a wooden structure supported by strong concrete foundations but the plan is v-shaped with a wall of glazing facing the ocean. It is essentially made up of a main room with two bedrooms leading from it, and a physically separated bedroom with its own entrance so the younger members of the family can be put to bed and not disturbed.
The cabin’s black exterior walls are stark and impressive in the landscape, but there are doubts about how long they will stay that way. “I hope it doesn’t fade with the wind and sea,” sighs Asarød. “I don’t want it to blend in and hide away. I’d still like it to look posh in a few years.”