Ark-shelter, Hotel Bjornson, Jasná, Slovakia - Photo © BoysPlayNice
Ark-shelter, Hotel Bjornson, Jasná, Slovakia - Photo © BoysPlayNice

Owner & Hotel operator: Hotel Bjornson
Architecture & Interior design: Ark-shelter
Engineering office: Archekta
Main structure: OSB – Kronospan
Skeleton: KVH + BSH timber beam -Jafholz
House envelope, foils and vapour barriers: Doerken
Connector screws: Rothoblaas
Ceiling infrared heating panels: Fouczech
Furnishings: Prostoria; on design by Ark-shelter
Kitchens: on design by Ark-shelter
Insulated window glass, fences: Pilkington
Photo credits: BoysPlayNice

The Ark-shelter firm sees it as a philosophy of life turned into a design. The philosophy is about “returning to your roots by reconnecting with nature, your senses and your natural biorhythm. We are helped in this by these respectful, contained structures, made with only what is necessary and built with zero impact materials. Michiel De Backer and Martin Mikovcak, the firm’s founding architects, believe in this project so much that they have created a special modular cabin construction system with the help of craftspeople.

These cabins are built as an extension of the Hotel Bjornson, in the ski resort of Jasná, in the Low Tatras mountains in Slovakia, and are shaped fully to the surrounding land and trees. They are respectfully placed between the trees and raised on stilts rather than placed on the usual concrete foundations. This lets the landscape keep flowing and breathing even under the buildings, helped by the “green” roof that doubles its habitat.

Spruce wood is the main material of the skeleton patented by Ark-shelter, with large-sized panels to clad the interior walls, ceiling, and facade. Oak parquet was chosen for the floor, making use of its natural insulating properties combined with those of rock wool. “We want people to recharge in a minimalist space and focus on the here and now, getting back in touch with nature and themselves,” say the architects.

All the cabins have an exact orientation and one-sided view, and they consist of two adjacent independent apartment-modules. As desired, the two units, which normally function separately, can be connected through a specially designed sliding partition, which creates a large central space where two families can meet and socialize.

Inside the cabins there is everything that is needed, no more, no less: a bedroom-living room, a children’s room, an entrance, and a bathroom. Two of the apartments serve as mirrored, detached modules with minor spatial changes, such a larger bathroom or an extra balcony, adding to the variety of options.

The architects’ work also includes an extension of the restaurant and a wellness center, in addition to these cabins set in the midst of the forest, close to the ski slope but in total privacy and peace. The wellness center is made up of four Ark-shelter modules arranged to form a group of saunas, relaxation rooms and massage areas. Reinventing the way we live to connect with nature is the architects’ constant point of departure.