“A Place to Gaze at Nature’s Cinema”: A Hidden Lakeside Hut in Norway

The Hideout is only reachable by boat in summer and skis in winter, when the mountain lake it overlooks is frozen. And if you don’t know where to look, you’ll likely miss it. Which is exactly what the owners want.

Ole, Astrid, and Olav of Norwegian architecture studio Gartnerfuglen collaborated with Spanish architect Mariana de Delás on this unassuming retreat in the Telemark region of southern Norway. They were commissioned by the owners of the farm across the lake, who for generations had fished, swum, and camped in the area in solitude. Of late, explain the architects, “due to allemannsretten, the Norwegian law of public right of access, one can no longer expect to be alone here.”

The designers were asked to create a hut on a rocky bank owned by the family where they can go to disconnect. As the architects write, “It was a desire to reunite to nature and the possibility to retreat, completely isolated from other people, that determined the inconvenient site—farthest away, behind a rock, shaded and lacking mobile and internet reception.” We’re not invited—except to take a look.

Photography courtesy of Gartnerfuglen Arkitekter and Mariana de Delás.

camouflaged behind a thicket of birch leaves, the hideout looks like a lakeside 14
Above: Camouflaged behind a thicket of birch leaves, the Hideout looks like a lakeside Hobbit house with a picture window.

The design team originally met while working in India at architect Bijoy Jain’s Studio Mumbai. “Since then, we try to join forces for projects that sit between art and architecture,” says Delás. The group worked in tandem from afar and met up in Norway for the building process.

the owners keep a rowboat on the opposite shore that they use to get to the hid 15
Above: The owners keep a rowboat on the opposite shore that they use to get to the Hideout. Rocks dug out by hand during the construction were placed in the water to “form a natural pier for docking the boat and access.” Delás applied a similar steel-framed bow window to her 12-Volt Retreat: A Transformed Shepherd’s Hut in Mallorca.