ARKNAT, a two week long architectural festival in the High Coast of Sweden, has just finished. At the festival architectural students have created spectacular shelters in wood that harmonizes with nature. SCA is a proud sponsor of wood for the creations.

All architectural students who study in Scandinavia can apply for participation in the ARKNAT festival. Of the 60 applicants, 15 students from different parts of Sweden were accepted. There are also students from Australia, Denmark and Germany who all study in Scandinavia.

"This type of architectural festival is also available in other places in the world, but ARKNAT is the only place where the results, the creations, become permanent," says Martin Björklund, construction engineer at Sweco and supervisor for the students during the festival.

ARKNAT building site

The participants live and work just outside Docksta during ARKNAT.

How the students have heard of ARKNAT varies. Some have received tips from previous participants, others from school teachers. Some have seen ads in magazines and on Facebook. What everyone has in common is that they think ARKNAT is an exciting project. In school, it's mostly theoretic studies and sketches on paper and computers. At ARKNAT, they are allowed to participate in the entire process, from idea to design and construction.

"Because I like outdoor life and because I´m a scout, ARKNAT is a perfect way for me to combine my interests with my architecture studies", says one of the students.

Three groups, three shelters

The participants are divided into three groups with five students in each group. The groups consist of a mix of students that study to become architects, landscape architects and those who have a more technical focus.

The task for the groups is to design and build a shelter. Each group is assigned a place where shelter is to be built. The festival begins with the groups visiting the places to take measurements and see the conditions of the site.

"At the sites, they get to know the atmosphere and from there they create a shelter that harmonizes with the nature and the desires of the people for which the shelter is being built; tourists, hikers, local residents and forest owners", Martin continues.

Martin Björklund

Martin Björklund is construction engineer at Sweco and one of the supervisors during ARKNAT.

After visiting the sites the students have 24 hours to create their own shelter. Then there is a vote where all participants can vote for the ideas they like most. The three shelters that get most votes are the shelters that are being built.

Before it's time to start building the groups go through their ideas and further develop them with the support of architects and engineers from Sweco. During the festival, students can also listen to lectures and seminars from international architects and designers as well as SCA's Katarina Levin and Christer Fält who talked about SCA and our sustainable business. The groups also get the opportunity to get feedback and tips on their creations from the lecturers.

"It gives me hope for the future to meet these future architects and see their creative power and interest in wood construction", says Katarina Levin.

From idea to design and construction

It is in Frilufsbyn in Docksta that the groups plan and build the foundation for the shelters. This is also where they live during the festival. The building site consists of a large field where the groups build their shelters.

Team Crevice – Åsberget

Team Crevice creates a shelter at the top of Åsberget. The group wants to make a creation that is light and airy. Therefore, they use 500 faced pillars of heartwood pine in their creation. With the pillars, they create walls, floors and ceilings that through lets the sun shines through the gaps. At the same time its providing protection against the wind. The idea of shelter is to give hikers the opportunity to rest their legs but also to be able to spend the night at the shelter.

Team Crevice

To create an airy impression, Team Crevice has used heartwood pine timber from SCA SmartTimber.

Skiss av Team Crevice

The sketch on the team's shelter.

Team Sea – Näske, Köpmanholmen

Team Sea created a shelter in Näske, Köpmanholmen. The shelter consists of a sleeping area and a part to sit down and enjoy the view. For guests who spend the night there is also an opening in the ceiling that allows the guests to sleep under the stars. By placing columns at different heights around the shelter, the group wants to create a landscape of pillars. An abstract creation that harmonizes with nature. The idea is that the columns over time will gradually become more and more a part of nature as they age.

Team Sea

Some of the modules that are to be assembled into a shelter in Näske.

Skiss Team Sea

The sketch on shelter built by Team Sea.

Team Mountain – Körningsberget, Nordingrå

Team Mountain created a flying tree house on top of Körningsberget. Instead of building the shelter at the edge of the mountain, as most may expect, the group has instead chosen to build it a few meters from the edge. In a large tree. The tree house is shaped like a cube about 2x3 meters and is attached around the tree. The outside of the tree house has been treated with a Japanese technique which means that the surface is burned, brushed off and then treated with linseed oil to get a dark shiny surface. Inside the house, the wood is untreated to create a contrast between the dark, burnt wood and the light, untreated wood. The group expects the tree house to weigh about 700 kg. Therefore, they will have help from a helicopter to move the creation to the mountain.

Skiss Team Mountain

A 3D sketch of how Team Mountains tree house will look like.

The final creations

Last year the first time the festival was organized, two shelters were created after the High Coast trail and a resting place was created on Kulberget. The shelters of this year is built near last year's creations. On Wednesday, June 20, the finished creations were displayed to the media and the public.

A-Maze-Thing – Team Crevice


Komponerar – Team Sea


The Tree Cube – Team Mountain

The Tree Cube

Photos: SCA // ARKNAT