Tubakuba, Bergen – Probably the Most Unusual Forest Hut in the World

The unusual façade of Tubakuba, Bergen

photography by: Omri Westmark

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While log cabins come in all shapes and sizes, a single hut on the hilly outskirts of Bergen seeks to redefine everything we tend to associate with this term. Designed and constructed by a group of sophomores from the city’s school of architecture, Tubakuba is a modestly-sized wooden lodge whose quirky appearance, minimal ecological footprint and nearby sweeping views make it far more than just a place to spend the night in.

More often than not, the wild ideas of architecture students never leave the confines of their classroom. That is, unless you are talking about Bergen’s school of architecture. In 2014, as part of a citywide endeavor encouraging families to engage more in outdoor activities, a group of undergraduates were entrusted with designing a mid-forest lodge atop the 400-meter-tall Mount Fløyen.


Precariously perching on the mountain’s wooded hillsides overlooking downtown Bergen, Tubakuba is a log cabin like no other. Made almost entirely of locally sourced timber, the 14-meter square unit can only be accessed via a rather unconventional doorway – a 2-meter-long tunnel whose height barely exceeds the one of a toddler. As the opening is somewhat reminiscent of a brass instrument’s bell, it aptly served as the source of inspiration for the hut’s name, Tubakuba (Tuba-Cube).


To create the oddly shaped hole, the students collected dozens of castoff wooden planks from a local sawmill, which were then drenched in a makeshift bathtub. Once the pieces of lumber were softened, they were painstakingly glued together, forming the entrance tunnel. As a protective measure against fungus, vermin and decomposition, the structure’s two smaller walls were constructed using planks charred according to a special Japanese technique called Shou Sugi Ban, imbuing them with a dark hue.


It might come as a surprise, but the exceptional cabin can be booked online for free for up to 5 people on a nightly basis (available at the official website). However, there is one major caveat, the building is Norway’s only off-grid lodge, a result of the green agenda behind the project. With neither electricity nor beddings, guests must bring their own source of light, sheets, blankets, pillows, food, water and perhaps most importantly, wood for the built-in stove inside.


Before you get cold feet (literally so) and rethink the experience, you should also know that what Tubakuba lacks in amenities, it more than makes up for in spectacular vistas of Bergen and its natural surroundings, perfectly visible from the hut’s glass screen wall.