The world's northernmost artist retreat is designed to let guests sink into their deepest selves, but what good would that be if they didn't have a safe and secure place in which to live? In order to ensure maximum durability, architects TYIN tegnestue and their mentor Prof. Sami Rintal opted to clad each of the retreat's six "mono-functional" houses in Kebony, an unusual material developed in Norway that involves "pickling" sustainable softwoods in a bio-based liquid.
The brainchild of the Norwegian composer and musician Håvard Lund, Fordypningsrommet is located on Northern Norway’s coastline, where it is subjected to some serious weather. Comprised of six little mini structures north of the Arctic Circle, including a sauna, sleeping house, kitchen house, bathhouse, studio, and a tower for big thoughts, the retreat is specifically designed to ensure artists are free from the tyranny of modern distractions like cars and shops so they have room for “deeper studies”. With unfathomably beautiful views, the site is ideally suited to that endeavor.
Maintaining the retreat in such harsh environs without compromising its aesthetic value was challenging. Hence the Kebony. Made by combining softwood with a liquid derived from agricultural waste, this material is both versatile and practical. It’s also beautiful. Over time, it develops a silver-grey patina that blends with the natural surroundings. In this case, it was applied as latticed wood tiles that mimic fish scales.
“We really wanted to make the build an environmentally friendly construction, disrupting the environment as little as possible while maintaining a natural aesthetic,” Håvard Lund said in a press statement. “Kebony provides us with a great option of a beautiful building material which minimizes the environmental impact of construction.”
Images via Andrew Devine, Fredrik Asplin, Anne Braatveit