Woodnest by Helen & Hard

Woodnest by Helen & Hard

Location: Odda, Norway
Client: Sally & Kjartan Aano
Year: 2020
Project-team: Helen & Hard Architects – Reinhard Kropf, Siv Helen Stangeland, Dag Strass, Simon Baumann, Odin Olesen
Structural Engineer: Oddvin Myklebust, Nordplan
Timber Construction: Røynstrand
Photos: Sindre Ellingsen

The steep forested hillsides around the Hardangerfjord above Odda, is the location of two Woodnest treehouses. The architecture is a specific response to the topography and conditions of the site itself. Inextricably crafted from nature, each treehouse is suspended 5-6m above the forest floor and fastened with a steel collar to the individual trunk of a living pine tree.

Stemming from the client’s wish to create a unique spatial experience that connects to both the ordinary and extraordinary sensation of climbing and exploring trees, our aim was to create a space that truly embodies what it means to dwell in nature.

The journey to the site begins with the 20minute walk from the town of Odda, on the edge of the fjord, and up through the forest via a steep winding path. Each treehouse is accessed via a small timber bridge, leading the visitor off the ground, into the structure, and up into the tree.

At just 15m2, carefully organized inside around the central tree trunk itself are four sleeping places, a bathroom, a kitchen area, and a living space. From here one can look out and experience the vast view out through the trees, down to the fjord below and across towards the mountains beyond.
At the very core of the project is the appreciation of timber as a building material.

Inspired by the Norwegian cultural traditions of vernacular timber architecture, together with a desire to experiment with the material potential of wood, the architecture is structurally supported by the tree trunk itself and formed from a series of radial glu-laminated timber ribs. The untreated natural timber shingles encase the volume creating a protective skin around the building, which will weather over time to merge and blend with the natural patina of the surrounding forest.

Woodnest is a project that quietly sits in an extraordinary situation. The architecture aims to allow people to pause and appreciate the smaller details of the natural environments we inhabit; the grain of timber, the daily rhythm of the forest, and the sensation of dwelling in nature.

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