Jarmund/Vigsnæs designs hardy refuge hut in Okstindan Mountains for the Norwegian Trekkers Association using Kebony wood
Rabothytta is the 500th refuge hut for trekkers in Norway and is located in one of the country’s most remote regions. Sandwiched between the craggy peaks of the Okstindan Mountains and under the glare of Norway’s highest peak (Oksskolten), this modestly-sized rest stop provides welcome respite for hikers tackling these challenging trails.
Designed by Jarmund/Vigsnæs to incorporate locally-sourced Kebony wood, the Rabothytta hut has been designed to blend into the landscape whilst offering a welcoming sight to hikers and trekkers. Ane Sønderaal Tolfsen from Jarmund/Vigsnæs said: “We wanted the hut to be a precise object standing inconspicuously on the edge of the lake, blending into the mountains and allowing the wind to sweep uninterrupted over the seamless, compact exterior.”
The site location provided the construction team with a plethora of challenges and guided the architects in their material choices. Building materials had to be light enough to be transported to the site by helicopter as the chosen location is 1,200m above sea level and many miles from the nearest road. As a result, construction workers had to trek to the site, staying in the hut overnight to escape winter storms.
One of the main goals of the project was to create a refuge that would complement its natural environment whilst remaining resilient enough to withstand the harsh climate. This informed the material selection as Tolfsen notes that the ‘Kebony-clad roof will provide lasting shelter that will mirror the rock surroundings’. Over time, this roof structure will patina as a reaction to the weather conditions, eventually referencing the grey rocks of the mountains.
The interior space is highly flexible to accommodate various group sizes, and floor-to-ceiling windows opposite a nearby lake enhance the users’ experience by providing additional contact with the natural environment.
Adrian Pye from Kebony added: “This project has really captured the public’s imagination because of the incredible access to Norway’s backcountry. This is one of the toughest huts to reach in Norway and is exposed to the harshest of nature’s elements. The high performance Kebony wood that seals the roof of the building is durable and weather resistant; providing shelter and protection to trekkers without the need for maintenance.”