Nestled in the mouth of the fjord, an hour’s boat ride from the island of Bodø, is the idyllic, but extremely exposed Fleinvær archipelago. The main island, Sørvær, is home to just nine permanent residents, but this remote spot in Northern Norway attracts artists from all over the whole world thanks to an extraordinary work of architecture.
The project was initiated by Håvard Lund, a musician. The vision was to create a sanctuary where artists could “disconnect to connect”. The place is also known as “The Arctic Hideaway”.
“Sørvær has no cars or shops. It’s as close as you can get to total peace. The location offers time out from modern life, which can otherwise be difficult to keep at bay,” says Lund.
The structures are inspired by heritage tradition, and a time when Norwegians lived in extremely modest conditions. The lavatory, kitchen and bedroom are all in separate buildings.
“In a setting stripped of material distractions, it is easier to connect with your own creativity. The luxury here consists of the stunning scenery and the spectacular view all around,” the musician explains.
Built for eternity
At the outset, the project was described as extremely ambitious given the location and the harsh climate. As the project founder, even Lund himself had his doubts.
“My original concept was to create something for eternity.
But I didn’t really dare to believe it could be done until the finished buildings had survived the ravages of that first winter. But once they had withstood multiple storms, I had proof that this – this can stand up to anything”.
He admits that making the structures wind and weather resistant was one of the critical factors throughout, not to mention that they had to be sustainable and maintenance-free.
“Nature conservation is first priority. Next priority is the people who are going to benefit from this for years to come. That’s why we wanted to build on nature’s own terms, and create something that leads its own organic life without the need for real maintenance”.
Kebony was a natural and reliable choice
“The Kebony cladding blends in naturally with this pristine Norwegian landscape, to bring out a sense of natural harmony. Over the years, the wood will gradually be transformed from brown to silvery-grey, while the timeless elegance and durability endure”.
Today, Håvard Lund no longer has any doubt about the future of The Arctic Hideaway.
“This architecture is made to last in terms of both its design and component materials. The entire project is extremely accomplished in its quality and passion at every level. Nothing was left to chance”.
A contemporary spin on conventional building traditions
The buildings also pay tribute to the staunch heritage of Norwegian coastal building traditions. One structure, the “tower” was built on top of a pole, inspired by a Sami “njalla”, a storage hut perched on a tall tree stump.
Lund acquired the plot on Fleinvær back in 2004, but not until he joined forces with the architects from TYIN Tegnestue and local architect Sami Rintala a few years later did the project really begin to take shape. In partnership with several artists, they formed a team that developed the design concept and erected the buildings.
The result speaks for itself – the architecture has won a number of awards and garnered praise from both the local and international communities. Many people are fascinated by the place, and artists of all kinds come from every corner of the globe for the experience. Last year, The Arctic Hideaway also won the prestigious Architizer award in the ‘Architecture in landscapes’ category.