If you’ve ever dreamed of escaping to a secluded corner of Iceland, the Aska Cabin may be of interest. Designed by architects Casper Berntsen and Aldís Gísladóttir of Studio Heima, the wood-clad structure is perched along the active geothermal pocket of Mývatn—a volcanic lake in northern Iceland.
"The cabin presents a landscape with surrounding lava formations, volcanoes, and hot springs," notes the Danish-Icelandic firm. The Aska Cabin—which derives its name from the Icelandic word for "ash"—is located on the site of a 300-year-old lava field in the Hlíð Ferðaþjónusta campground complex.
To protect the 226-square-foot structure from extreme weather, the firm relied on charred-pine cladding made using the ancient Japanese method of shou sugi ban. "With this technique, we were able to create a sustainable and robust facade from entirely natural materials," the architects explain.
Inside, the cabin reveals a warmer side. Light pine plywood wraps the ceilings and walls, while emerald tiles span the fully equipped kitchenette, adding a playful splash of color. Large picture windows usher ample natural light into the living spaces while framing captivating views of the surroundings, which include Mývatn and Hverfjall, a tuff ring volcano.
Although the cabin is small in size, the interior feels sufficiently spacious thanks to the high ceilings that are found throughout the structure. In addition to an open-plan kitchen and dining area, the cabin features a double bedroom, as well as a private bath.
"Our goal was to enhance the spirit of the country’s natural settings, while inserting an architectural piece into the landscape—offering a place to stay, sleep, and enjoy the environment," the architects say.
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