Schüco: Cave-like cosiness and panoramic views – Black Lodge, Ålesund (Norway)

Thanks to the latest high-insulation frame technology and triple glazing, cold climates and modern transparent façade design have finally become compatible.

Evidence of this is provided by “Black Lodge”, a private residential cabin in Norway’s Sunnmøre Alps. The excellent insulation capacities of the Schüco façade, window and door systems allow for an unexpected, yet energetically reasonable transparency despite the variable and frequently cold climate in this beautiful mountain region.

The region around Ålesund is one of the most popular tourist hot-spots in Norway. In addition to the renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site in Geirangerfjord and the snow-covered peaks of the Hjørundfjord, the ragged mountains of the Sunnmøre Alps projecting almost 2000 metres over the fjords also attract visitors from all over the world.

The Black Lodge holiday home is situated amidst these spectacular natural surroundings, crouching on a gentle slope like an erratic boulder.

The amorphous shape of the building’s interweaving façade and roof surfaces is accentuated by the unusual materials – rusted Corten steel plates and spruce panels – in combination with the timber shell of the interior.

Large-scale glazing with slimline aluminium profiles allows spectacular, and even panoramic views in some living areas. At the same time, the profiles visually dissolve spatial boundaries between the unspoilt nature and the protective cosiness of a warm and welcoming retreat for family and friends.

Expansive, narrowly framed glass façades combine with rusted Corten steel plates and spruce panels: the "Black Lodge" residence in Ålesund, Norway.
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Expansive, narrowly framed glass façades combine with rusted Corten steel plates and spruce panels: the “Black Lodge” residence in Ålesund, Norway.

 

A concept in three volumes

The room concept of the single-storey residence is based on the idea of two volumes melting into a bigger, third building structure. A back entrance splits the cabin and faces the bigger open area. Separate bedrooms for the owners and their guests are arranged on both sides of the entrance.

The guest rooms can accommodate up to twelve people and feature loft beds and the most spacious bathroom in the building, with direct access to an outdoor hot tub.

The central living room as the social centre remains open despite the different functional zones, integrating the dining area and a small kitchen with a cooking and preparation island. It features the building’s most spectacular viewpoint with cross-corner panorama glazing looking out towards the spectacular alpine scenery.

Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Expansive, narrowly framed glass façades combine with rusted Corten steel plates and spruce panels: the "Black Lodge" residence in Ålesund, Norway.
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Expansive, narrowly framed glass façades combine with rusted Corten steel plates and spruce panels: the “Black Lodge” residence in Ålesund, Norway.

 

Transparency vs. seclusion

In their unique building design, Invit Arkitekter unrolled the central idea of defining and intermingling inside and outside spaces on several levels.

There is the transparency vs. seclusion theme to be found in the building envelope, varied in façade surfaces that show different degrees of transparency and total seclusion, ranging from narrow horizontally and vertically arranged ribbon windows to huge light openings.

In the central living room area there is even a wrap-around combination of floor-to-ceiling glazing with a folding sliding door system. A visual counterpart of this idea can be found in the colour scheme of the interior design, which oscillates between brighter and darker timber structures for walls, ceilings, floors and furniture.

Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist The building design by Invit arkitekter is said to be reminiscent of the rocks in the nearby mountains.
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist The building design by Invit arkitekter is said to be reminiscent of the rocks in the nearby mountains.
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Contrasts in light, materials and colours: slim horizontally and vertically arranged windows cut out the black painted timber shell of the interior.
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Contrasts in light, materials and colours: slim horizontally and vertically arranged windows cut out the black painted timber shell of the interior.

 

Highest insulation standards

The Sunnmøre area has a very varied climate because of its specific geographical profile. In the fjord areas and in the mountains, several metres of snow fall every year. Summers can be hot, with temperatures reaching almost 30 degrees Celsius, but they can also be as low as 10 degrees Celsius – rapid weather changes are common all year round.

An energy concept that economically and reliably keeps room temperatures within comfortable ranges, regardless of variable weather conditions, is all the more important. Using expansive glazing therefore implies the highest insulation standards in terms of both comfort and energy.

Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist The interior shell features a classic construction - an insulated wooden frame system cladded with painted and natural spruce panels.
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist The interior shell features a classic construction – an insulated wooden frame system cladded with painted and natural spruce panels.

The passive house-certified Schüco FW 50+.SI mullion/transom façade used in Black Lodge meets these demanding requirements by combining the latest high-insulation frame technology with low-e coated triple glazing.

This drastically reduces energy losses and at the same time protects against the heat of the sun on warmer days. Despite using materials that offer maximum thermal insulation, there is unrestricted design freedom. This is best demonstrated by the geometrically complex floor-to-ceiling glazing of the living room façade.

It seamlessly connects to the Schüco ASS 70 FD folding sliding system, which also features the highest insulation standards while offering the functional flexibility of a spacious yet space-saving opening to the terrace for those warmer days.

Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Highest insulation capacities of the Schüco façade and door systems allow for transparency amids the cold region of Norway (Schüco FW 50+.SI).
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Highest insulation capacities of the Schüco façade and door systems allow for transparency amids the cold region of Norway (Schüco FW 50+.SI).
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Cozy corner with a view: without energy losses, the seasonal dynamics of nature become a decorative picture (façade system Schüco FW 50+.SI).
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Cozy corner with a view: without energy losses, the seasonal dynamics of nature become a decorative picture (façade system Schüco FW 50+.SI).

 

Modernity meets tradition

While the expressive shape of the building, the rusted Corten steel cladding and the aluminium and glass elements reflect trends in modern architecture, they are directly linked to a more classic wooden frame system clad with black painted panels of spruce. The latter is a quotation of traditional construction types for mountain cabins in Norway.

Climate comfort, however, consistently follows modern demands, with an electric floor heating system, electric heaters in the bathrooms and a wood burning stove for “natural” heating and atmosphere. During the warmer seasons, an air conditioning system operated by a heating pump optimises the indoor climate.

Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Highest insulation capacities of the Schüco façade and door systems allow for transparency amids the cold region of Norway (Schüco FW 50+.SI).
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist Highest insulation capacities of the Schüco façade and door systems allow for transparency amids the cold region of Norway (Schüco FW 50+.SI).
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist In the living room area, the Schüco FW 50+.SI  façade system combines with folding sliding system Schüco ASS 70 FD to enable panoramic views and direct access to the terrace on warmer days.
Photo Credits: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund // Photographer: Johan Holmquist In the living room area, the Schüco FW 50+.SI  façade system combines with folding sliding system Schüco ASS 70 FD to enable panoramic views and direct access to the terrace on warmer days.

Project information

Project title: Black Lodge, Ålesund (Norway)
Design: Invit Arkitekter, Ålesund
Schüco system partner: Straumsheim Glass og Fasade, Straumgjerde
Timber structures: Gingabygg, Ålesund
Total living space: 165 m²
Design and construction: 2013-2015

Schüco systems in the project:
Façade/windows: Schüco FW 50+.SI
Doors: Schüco ADS 75.SI and Schüco ADS 75 HD.SI
Folding sliding system: Schüco ASS 70 FD

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