Snøhetta has developed a series of modular cabins for the Norwegian start-up Omgi, expanding its portfolio of sustainable alternatives to the traditional leisure home. With panoramic windows as the sole barrier between cabin coziness and nature experiences, the Omgi modular cabins offer visitors a unique, almost borderless experience with nature while placing a minimal physical footprint in the landscape.
The cabins' form and function counter traditional leisure homes as they do not interfere with their immediate surroundings.
2 Six different typologies
Omgi is a Norwegian word that means surrounding oneself with something and someone - be it nature, silence, friends, or family.
The collection consists of four modules through which many needs can be covered - cabin, hotel room, guesthouse, and annex – all designed to be placed anywhere with a minimum of groundwork and easy to put in place. Although permanently placed once installed, the cabins drastically minimize the need to make potentially damaging landscape interventions.
In addition, they are removable and easy to reuse in other locations. The idea is to offer a sustainable alternative that is robust and flexible in use, provides a unique living experience close to nature, and respects local habitats and biodiversity.
3 Blurry lines between indoors and outdoors
By tweaking and tailoring the layout of each module, including the entry, bed, and living room areas, and designing for the possibility of adding a porch, Snøhetta has focused on improving and maximizing the overall layout to become intelligent and space-conscious. High-quality and durable materials have been curated to tolerate the expected diversity. Deft lighting, acoustic interventions, and optimized sun shading offer comfort through low-tech yet aesthetic solutions.
The front exterior has large panoramic ceiling-to-floor windows, while the other facades are clad with carbonized wooden panels or reclaimed panels. The long side has terraces touching the lifted volumes. Lifting the modules protects the forest ground, harmonizing the building with the surrounding nature and blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors.
4 Unique student housing
Improving cabin accounting and reducing housing challenges is part of Omgi's philosophy. All cabins can, therefore, be delivered with a world-class booking system, 100% integrated with both the lock on the door and control of energy consumption.
Grend is a combined student housing and rental cabins carefully placed in a forest outside Bø in Vestfold and Telemark, Norway. Based on modules from the Omgi-series the five units are alike and tailored for mixed use. The compact housing modules serve as affordable dorms for 10 months a year, then transformed into high-quality rental cabins during the 2 months of summer leave. The switch of users sponsors the students enabling them to enjoy a highly comfortable living at an affordable price and demonstrates circularity in social and economic sustainable thinking.
Omgi cabins in the Grend community in Bø, Norway. Photos: Robin Hayes
Photos: Robin Hayes