HEIMA: ICELAND TREKKING CABINS
Heima is a series of trekking cabins, designed to be built in remote locations across Iceland.
Iceland is defined by its diverse landscapes and unique weather phenomena. It is a place that is constantly shifting, both in the skies and underfoot.
This design celebrates Iceland’s precious geography and extraordinary natural beauty. It touches the landscape with lightness and sensitivity.
Our design approach is inspired by traditional Japanese houses, which are formed by the repeatable unit of a tatami mat. In our cabins, a consistently sized module forms bunk units, kitchens, bathrooms, entry zones and window openings. These lightweight units can be joined and assembled to form a series of small to large cabins.
In essence, each trekking cabin is a single, communal room, much like a traditional yurt or Nordic longhouse. There is a simple gradient of public to private spaces, which radiates from the centre of the room outwards. A table is placed in the heart of the cabin, allowing it to become a place of shared meals and conversation.
Heima appears as an object within a vast landscape. Its tilted roof lifts up to welcome visitors, and folds down to capture water. The cabin is topped by a polycarbonate lantern, which glows at night.
Each facade is inspired by Iceland’s ethereal, ever-changing weather patterns, abstracting colours from its immediate environment. The panels are formed from polycarbonate, a material that clouds and obscures the building. This affect references Iceland’s steaming geysers and fog-streaked skies.
Heima was awarded third place in the international Iceland Trekking Cabins competition.
This Iceland trekking cabin proposal sets itself apart in the use of cabinetry as a language to create shelter.
Through the dimensional unit of the tatami mat, the project creates a modular furniture system that defines the perimeter of the shared central space, creating a gradient between the common dining area and private sleeping cells.
The furniture units are comprised of lightweight plywood and are a collection of bed, window, entry, and kitchen modules: each cabin unit can be adjusted, reoriented, and scaled to adapt to the uniqueness of the Icelandic landscape.
This kit of parts is clad in polycarbonate skin, a material that in its obscuring translucency and reflectivity, mirrors the mercurial atmosphere of the Nordic sky. At night, it functions as a lantern, marking the terrain through the light that spills from its clerestory.
It is in this simultaneous suppression and celebration of the architectural object that a spatial nuance is added to the proposal.
The project is an interrogation of interiority, using the device of the inhabitable cabinet to define and engage the public-private dichotomy of domesticity.
A collection of discrete pieces, the furniture modules provide the infrastructure of the living space. Through the system’s logic of aggregation, the modules reinforce the frame of the cabin, leaving a generous space in the centre for collective activities.
Unifying the assemblage of furniture modules, the polycarbonate shell opens the interior to the landscape, enlarging the volume of the cabin and bringing in the light, colour, and texture of the Icelandic sky.