A Tiny Bathhouse on the Norwegian Island of Hankø Made With Sustainable Softwood

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By Michele Koh Morollo / Published by Dwell
Built to blend in with its forest surroundings and complement an existing prefab log cabin, the Hankø Bathhouse designed by Oslotre is built entirely out of durable Kebony wood.

Developed in Norway using an eco-friendly, patented process, Kebony is a sustainable softwood that's been permanently strengthened with bio-based liquid obtained from agricultural crop waste.  

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The process polymerizes the softwood’s cell walls to increase its stability and durability, while giving it features that are similar to tropical hardwoods, such as a rich brown color. 

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Kebony endures sun and rain exposure well, and develops a natural silver-gray patina over time. This allows the bathhouse to harmonize with its natural setting.

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Because Hankø island is extremely remote, it only recently had drainage and running water installed. The island’s authorities, who take conservation very seriously, approved the building of the bathhouse on the condition that it be no larger than 107 square feet, and that it wouldn't have an overt impact on its surroundings.  

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Meticulous planning was crucial, so architect Jørgen Tycho of Norwegian architecture firm Oslotre placed the bathhouse at the rear of the prefab cabin between three pine trees. 

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The structure is supported by six pillars, which were strategically positioned to help prevent damage to the roots of the three trees. 

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The architects, who are also specialists in timber construction, heated and pressurized the Kebony boards so that the wood would bend and fit the natural curves of the landscape perfectly.

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The interior of the bathhouse is fitted with waxed red oak and deep green-colored, built-in furniture made out of MDF that mimics the shades of the surrounding pine trees. 

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A glass ceiling is fitted across the entire t0p of the structure. This allows natural light to illuminate the interiors, while offering the bather stunning views of the forest above.

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Project Credits:

Builder: Nordli Bygg AS 

Cabinetry design and installation: Engelsviken Snekkerversksted 

Glass roof installation: Saint-Gobain Glasssolutions

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