Meet Ingrid and Benjamin Hjertefølger, the owners of the incredibly innovative Nature House in Norway. Located in Sandhornøya in the northern part of the country, the sustainably-built cob house lies inside a stunning geodesic dome that in turn shields the occupants from the harsh climate of the Article Circle. Constructed three years back, the eco-friendly structure also allows the family of six to grow their own food.
The Nature House, according to the developers, is encased within a single-glazed, solar dome created by UK-based company Solardome. Given its remote location, the dwelling is designed to offer respite from the region’s extreme temperatures and strong winds. If that’s not all, the area experiences three, whole months of no sun every year, making farming almost impossible.
The structure’s unique design, however, allows the family to grow a wide variety of crops, including cherries, cucumbers, apples, plums, squash, apricots, tomatoes, grapes, melons, herbs and even kiwis. What’s more, they can actually farm for an extra five months every year than they would outside. Speaking about their beautiful home, the Hjertefølgers (meaning “heartfollowers”) said:
The house works as we intended and planned. We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house. The process changed us, shaped us.
As pointed out by the developers, the house boasts an array of eco-friendly features, including wastewater recycling which in turn helps irrigate the plants. Discarded food is turned into compost for fertilizing the crops. Additionally, the dwelling is furnished with sustainable, biodegradable furniture items. So long as the cob structure is kept clean and dry, it can last nearly indefinitely without having to touch up the paint every few years. This is because the glass dome actually protects it from the harsh natural elements. The owners added:
If we were to build a new Nature House, the ideal thing would be double glass on the greenhouse so that we could have a tropical garden and no dripping in the winter. But that is a bit unrealistic because it is very expensive with all that glass.
In the future, Ingrid feels the arrangement of crops in the greenhouse might need to be changed to “to get more usable space and better placement for different plants”. She went on to say:
The feeling we get as we walk into this house is something different from walking in to any other house. The atmosphere is unique. The house has a calmness; I can almost hear the stillness. It is hard to explain. But it would have been impossible getting this feeling from a house someone else has planned and built for us, or a house with corners and straight lines.
To know more about the Nature House, head over to its official website.