Nes Cabin Prototype

Nes Kommune i Akershus is an agricultural and timber producing municipality to the north east of Oslo with a population of 20 000 people. With the aim of opening up new forms of agricultural settlements and raising its environmental and design profile Nes has approached SCS in order to set up a long term cooperation programme. The first project to emerge from this cooperation is for the design and build of a prototype of a small holiday cottage to be installed in local farms in order to increase farmer’s income by renting them out in the summer.

The concept for this week-end cabin is to make it as affordable as possible, both for the farmer who will build it and for its prospective users  who will rent it. It is envisioned that Oslo residents would use it for weekend cross country skiing in winter and for longer stays in the summer.  The construction of the cabin cost 38 000 euros.

The small area of the cabin, 25 m2, led us to maximize the space on the ground floor for social use, while making of the bedroom a hung sculptural object that does not take up floor space. The ‘pear’ shaped bedroom is constructed using the ‘stitch and glue’ boat building technique.

The kitchen is limited to a table that incorporates a couple of hot plates, the work surface, and when done cooking becomes the dining table. The kitchen and toilet effluents are connected to a septic tank lying under or near the cabin. 

In a country where people are accustomed to cottages without grid connections, the cabin could work with just a wood stove and a septic tank. In cases where it is possible, the cabin could be connected to the electricity and water grids.

The project is built from timber, obtained from local, renewable sources. The cladding material is Kebony, produced from sustainable managed Southern Yellow Pine, which is treated with bio-based renewable chemicals, a process developed in Norway, which is environmentally friendly and enhances the properties of non-durable softwoods. As a result, the wood’s cell structure is permanently modified to acquire the durable characteristics of hardwood. The glazing units have been dismantled from buildings due for demolition.

The design concept responds to the requirement that the setting of the cabin will vary considerably. For example, it could be sited inside the forest, at the edge between the forest and ploughed fields, or at the edge of a river or lake. This is why we chose a very simple form, a cube. The variation in setting is catered for by the extension of the timber screen that surrounds the glass walls of the cube. In the case of the current location the screen affords privacy from the public green space at the back, while allowing total openness towards the river and distant views.

The cabin rests on four point foundations. The idea is that when removed it would leave no imprint on the site it had been on.


The project has uses underfloor electric heating. All electricity in Norway is produced in hydro-electric plants, with no hydro-carbons involved in the process. The windows are all double-glazed and sourced from second hand double glazing merchants who obtain them from buildings to be demolished. The roof and ceiling are insulated to code with Rockwool.

The external wood cladding is from Kebony, produced from sustainably managed Southern Yellow Pine, which receives a biobased treatment.

Professors: Christian Hermansen, Solveig Sandness, Marcin Wojcik
Students: Mathilde Azriel, Ines Bendelac, Tommy Degerth, Eline Egeland, Bruguers Gallego-Guiu, Sigrid Bergitte Gilberg, Matteo Grometto, Thea Andrea Jetmundsen, Marianna Laurila, Matteo Lomaglio, Lodewijk Luken, Jon Mannsåker, Ida Helene Holm Mjelde, Une Tangen Rekstad, Michelle Schneider, Kristina Skarphol, Miguel Saludas, Irene De Santos, Jonas Aarre Sommarset, Anna Rosa Strassegger, Emiel Vercruysse, Maria Årthun