About three years ago, Norway’s Tourism Association held a competition for designing the best self-catering mountain lodges, which they could place on hiking trails across the country. The winning lodges were the so-called Skåpet Mountain Lodges designed by Koko Architects. These lodges are made up of a group of off-grid cabins, which require very little maintenance and can house up to 35 hikers. They also operate completely off-the-grid, and provide a secure and comfortably warm shelter even in the harshest conditions, which in Norway can get pretty harsh. The first of these Skåpet Mountain Lodges was recently built on a hiking trail in Rogaland.
The lodge is comprised of a main building, a sleeping area, and bathroom facilities that also include a wood-fired sauna and a storage room. The total floorspace of the complex measures 3,767 sq ft (350 sq m). The structures are clad in rolled zinc, and this material was chosen because of its durability. According to Koko Architects the cladding will not require any maintenance for decades, even in the harsh weather conditions of the mountainside. The interior is clad in unfinished natural wood, and the structures offer great views of the surrounding area. Furthermore, the separate modules needed to build the cabins were prefabricated, so the assembly was very quick and easy.
The lodge gets water from a lake located nearby, while they are heated by wood-burning stoves. There are also two gas-powered stoves for preparing food, while a solar power array provides the necessary electricity. The cabin operates on a trust system, meaning that visitors are expected to leave money to cover the costs of them staying there, as well as to clean up after themselves, and make sure there is enough food and firewood left for the next visitors.