Before the project started, there was nothing here, just a stretch of trees as far as the eye could see. Founders Kristian Rostad and Christine Mowinckel were living on a farm in the town of Finnskogen, in the eastern parts of Norway alongside the Swedish border in an area known as “Forest of the Finns.” The couple dreamed up a plan to combine spectacular architecture with stunning panorama views of the forest, a place to welcome eco-tourists to the area.
Thanks to the designs from architect Espen Surnevik, a pair of elevated cabins were brought to the forest and erected in the woodlands, opening their PAN Hytter project to the public in 2018. Let’s take a look at some of these structures!
“The vision of the architect was to create something that would easily settle into the landscape without making a big change in the surrounding nature,” explained the founder. “The forest itself has been the biggest source of inspiration, but also the North American A-lodges, modern power line constructions, and the houses of the Moomin characters have all been central in the creative process leading up to the design of the PAN Treetop cabins.”
When looking at the A frame cabins now, you see a simple basic shape like the tip of a tree top. The cabins are the top trees in the canopy!
The rooftops for the cabins were made from zinc panels, which look a lot like pine cones. There are a lot of little details that make the project special.
What bit of the cabins do you love the most?
The details in the design and the precision from the craftsmen. And waking up in a comfortable bed when the sun light spreads through the top of the trees is a special experience.
Creating cabins above the ground, so far from any energy source had its own challenges. It was difficult to get the cabins to the location, but they were created off site to reduce the impact on the environment.
Were there any major difficulties in executing this project?
This is a pioneer project in several areas, so the construction was tricky. Thankfully the bright minds of engineer Finn- Erik Nilsen and architect Espen Surnevik came up with good solutions in all areas. We decided to have electricity in the cabins which complicated the process. We are happy for the decision today, but it was tough work to get this in place in the middle of the forest at the same time as we were trying to have a gentle construction to spare the nature.
So far the tourists who have come to stay in the cabins are absolutely loving it. “Both the cabins and the surrounding nature here at Finnskogen in Norway are breathtaking,” explain Kristian and Christine. At first the only bookings were from Norwegians but now the cabins draw in international visitors.
The two cabins are based on the same drawings, but were customized to fit their specific spaces. They each measure 40 square metres and can accommodate up to six people with sofas that can be converted into beds. The interior walls also have beds integrated, functioning as a minimal but simple outpost for visitors wishing to explore nature.
The cabins are already taking bookings for the year ahead, offering a space to recharge and remove oneself from the city grind. You can see more of the PAN Hytter tree top cabins here.