A Scandinavian-inspired eco-friendly getaway has popped up in a Slovakian forest with the completion of the ‘Tree Houses,’ a cluster of prefab cabins for Hotel Björnson in the heart of the Jasná ski resort. Designed and built by prefab purveyors Ark-shelter, the modular and minimalist shelters were created to blend in with the surrounding forest with minimal site impact. 

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A bird's-eye view of 11 cabins in a snowy forest.

Located in the Low Tatras, the new prefab shelters for Hotel Bjornson consist of 11 cabins and four “wellness” units that house saunas and relaxation rooms. Each cabin is elevated on stilts to minimize site impact and carefully placed in between the trees for privacy and optimal landscape views. The cabins comprise two independent modules that can function as separate apartments — a sliding wall partitions a cabin into two units each complete with a living room, bedroom, children’s room, entry hall and bathroom — or can be connected to create one shared space to house up to eight people.

A large tree partially obscures the exterior of a rectangular cabin with glass walls.

To blend the buildings in with the landscape, the architects clad the exterior with blackened spruce and lined the light-filled interiors with large format spruce panels and oak parquet floors for a minimalist and spacious feel. Green roofs atop each cabin also help to visually tie the structures with the forest. Large insulated glazing blurs the boundaries between the interior and outdoor landscape. All cabins feature an intelligent control system for heating and lighting.

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The interior of a cabin with light-tone wood walls, floors and ceilings. A slifing door separates two bedrooms. A person stands on the other side of a glass wall looks at the snow outside.

“We consider the concept of placing the modules between the trees ecological, not only for the tree preservation, but also for the minimum contact of the modules with the ground due to raising them on stilts instead of laying on the classic concrete plate foundations,” the architects explained. “This allows the landscape to continuously flow under the building and breathe, while the green roof of the module doubles the biotope that lays beneath it.”

+ Ark-shelter

Images by BoysPlayNice