Fordypningsrommet Fleinvær, Norway, by TYIN Tegnestue Architects and Rental Eggertsson Architects

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Situated on a small island in the Arctic archipelago of Fleinvær, this stilted timber cabin aims to let guests swap their busy schedules for “silence, inspiration, and absolute, honest encounters with nature”.

The architects have created nine other holiday homes in the same style – all feature cosy interiors that have been dressed with wooden furnishings and fluffy fur throws.

Three years ago Håvard Lund stood in the office of TYIN Tegnestue. The musician from Gildeskål presented a vision of creating the world’s most beautiful workspace on the isle of Fleinvær outside Bodø, in the northernmost parts of Norway. The workspace would be a place where musicians, artists and other creative souls could rent rooms for shorter or longer timespans. The small isle offers a secluded working environment in an area of awe-inspiring natural beauty, surrounded on all sides by wild sea. “Fleinvær got to me from the first moment. For such a long time I had lived so close to this paradise, without having the slightest idea it existed. It was like being in the place where the sun sets. Beautiful and weathered, a “rock n roll”-nature that hits you right in the face,” Lund recalls of his first venture to the isle that would later become such an important part of his life. Lund is known in Norway as a jazz musician and composer. He has played for several Norwegian jazz ensembles, the Norwegian Army Band North, and has also worked as composer for various Norwegian theatres. Music thus became a natural metaphor in the ensuing project. Lund denied the architects of TYIN to refer to him as a client, insisting instead they consider themselves as band members. With Lunds old friend and practical consultant, Arnt Waaberg, the architects found themselves as fresh members of the Fleinvær quartet. As any start-up band they now needed an artistic vision. “I got the lot on Fleinvær in 2004. Initially it was meant as a workplace for myself, a writing lodge of sorts. As time went on I felt an urge, a need, to share what I had found on Fleinvær with others. I wanted to create a workspace unlike anything else in the world,” says Lund.

Working in a picturesque island with the majestic Lofoten mountain chain as a backdrop may sound like a dream scenario for any architect. There are still significant challenges facing a project of this scope in such a finite location. At first sight, Fleinvær may appear rough, windswept and weather beaten. At the same time the small isle has a less obvious fragility to it. “Given the context of the project, we felt it natural to invite Sami Rintala and his office Rintala Eggertsson Architects to join the team. He has impressive experience in this scale of work, and a unique capacity for practical, architectural fieldwork in rough conditions. We felt safer when he agreed to take part,” says Andreas Grøntvedt-Gjertsen from TYIN tegnestue architects. The quartet became a quintet, and the practical work could begin. A preliminary step was partitioning the project in to several smaller milestones. The building site was subjected to a thorough three-dimensional scan, conducted in corporation with architecture students from NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology). This gave a full overview of the lot, instrumental in guiding the further development of the project. A modest interference with the ground stood out as an important principle for the building process. Moss and other terrestrial vegetation contribute to the natural splendour of Fleinvær. If torn during building, it will need decades to grow back. The isle is also a nesting area for gulls and seabirds. The concern for the natural surroundings is reflected in the small building volumes and their careful adaptation to the terrain. The project’s modest contact with the ground level also makes removal of the buildings possible, without extensive damage to the natural environment. “We have taken care to inflict as few wounds as possible on Fleinvær. We achieve this in part by making good pathways, spaces between the houses, and a common fireplace. This steers traffic away from the isles more sensitive areas,” explains Sami Rintala.