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Manshausen Island Resort Norway

Written by Roma Publications

Manshausen 2.0

Manshausen 2.0 is an extension of the Manshausen Island Resort off the coast of Northern Norway, which opened in June 2015.

Manshausen is a world in its own. Spanning 55 acres, the island is situated in the middle of the Grøtøya strait, only 500 metres from the small village Nordskot. With its well-protected harbour, Manshausen was in its time an important and busy part of the old trading post Grøtøy, which was established in 1698. Fishing is still important, but kayaking, diving, cycling, climbing and summer and winter hiking has now taken over as the most popular activities.

The Steigen Archipelago represents a unique destination for such activities, with hundreds of small islands, white sandy beaches, spectacular mountains, and to the north the Loftoten islands act as a protective wall.
The extension completed in June 2018 includes new cabins and a sauna/relaxation area in connection with a central seawater pond on the island. Additionally, there is an existing 18th century small farmhouse on the Island which was carefully restored and converted into a restaurant with upstairs library.

Stinessen Arkitekture completed the extension, for the client Børge Ousland, a well experienced and celebrated polar explorer. Although Børge has an ongoing business of expedition travel guiding to locations such as the North and South Pole, (He is currently undertaking a series of expeditions in cooperation with National Geographic to all the major glaciers in the world to document them before they disappear), the project development started with researching and defining the potential market and thus what the resort and the individual guest houses should focus on.

The respect for the nature and the site is fundamental to the Manshausen 2.0 project and the strategy for a sustainable development has also focused primarily on the fundamental principles – minimum impact, size, materials, re-use, traditional and natural principles, waste manage­ment, low energy and self-sustainability.

As such, all waste is treated and cleansed on the island. In addition, the island was already connected to the public power grid, but Stinessen Arkitekture is working on sustainable methods to make the island self-sus­tained within 5 years of opening. The food is mainly sourced from a small bakery close by and from the sea. Either local fishermen will bring the catch of the day or Ousland will dive to hunt the larger fish, but only enough to provide the food needed for guests.

While the original cabins rest on existing stone quays, the new ones are positioned at the tip of the rocky formations at the northern end of the Island and out over the sea. Although they enjoy much of the same undisturbed sea views, the positioning in the landscape offers a unique approach to the design. For example, wave heights, extreme weather conditions and future rises in sea levels were studied to determine the exact positions of the cabins. The exposure to the natural elements in this location is extreme and aluminium sheet cladding was chosen to withstand the salinity and salt water exposure. These cabins start on the rocky outcrops and end up and out over the sea, held up by strong poles.

The cabins are designed internally to offer their guests shelter and comfort while at the same time underlining the dramatic experience of the elements outside; the sea, landscape, changing lights, weather and different seasons. Above all the cabins endeavour to fulfil the functional requirements of the guests, with ample space for luggage, a comfortable bathroom and a kitchen/dining area. They accommodate two to four people and the main bed is positioned in the main room, slightly

withdrawn from the floor to ceiling glasses, to enable the visitor an around the clock experience of the outside elements, while still being comfortably sheltered.

The sauna was made using left-over materials from the first stage of the building process and also old slate roof tiles found on the island. The design seeks to relate to the specific positioning in the pond, but also the surrounding landscape, while offering the guests a comfortable seating inside and an easy access to the cold water.

To discover more about this unique island resort, visit:


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