© Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

Finding Wilderness: 10 Eco-Lodges at One With Nature

Structures closely tied to their surroundings, these remote buildings emphasize environmental responsibility while intensifying our understanding of nature and place.

Eric Baldwin Eric Baldwin

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Architecture and wilderness inherently contrast one another. Designers work to integrate buildings with nature, orienting people and spatial sequences to the surrounding context. Beyond acts of framing and juxtaposition, architects increasingly work to make nature part of their buildings, bringing living systems into the spaces where we dwell. As dense urbanization draws people together, new desires to reconnect with wilderness and natural systems has led to the creation of eco-lodges. Structures closely tied to their surroundings, eco-lodges are remote buildings that emphasize environmental responsibility while minimizing their impact on the surrounding ecology.

As both private dwellings and eco-tourist accommodations, eco-lodges focus on water conservation, renewable energy, native landscapes and improving the welfare of local populations. We’ve gathered together the following lodge designs to showcase their ideas on craft, perspective and sustainability. These modern projects serve as havens and tranquil retreats playing off the character of their surroundings. As visitors interact with the shelters, they experience multiple ways that architecture can celebrate and embrace wilderness. Together, they begin to show how simple forms and spaces can intensify our understanding of nature and place.

© Patrick Arotcharen

© Patrick Arotcharen

© Patrick Arotcharen

© Patrick Arotcharen

© Patrick Arotcharen

© Patrick Arotcharen

Eco-Lodges by Patrick Arotcharen, Saubion, France

Located in the Landes region of France, these lodges are set on dredged sand dunes. Oriented to views of the lake while maintaining privacy, the wooden buildings were made to encourage human interaction and dialogue with nature.

© DOOK Photography

© DOOK Photography

© DOOK Photography

© DOOK Photography

Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge by Michaelis Boyd, Botswana

Situated in the Okavango Delta, the Sandibe lodge is a bold new design that exists within this natural habitat. Inspired by the pangolin, a small African bush animal known for its armored carapace, the lodge is clad in woven saplings and natural shingles. It creates an inviting space to observe and learn from the creatures of the delta.

© Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

© Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

© Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

© Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

Split View Mountain Lodge by Reiulf Ramstad Architects, Geilo, Norway

The Split View Mountain Lodge was designed with a simple, clean and streamlined aesthetic. Two living zones connect to a main volume with bedrooms, and the project adapts to the slope of the site through a shift in levels.

© Helen & Hard

© Helen & Hard

© Helen & Hard

© Helen & Hard

Pulpit Rock Mountain Lodge by Helen & Hard, Ryfylke, Norway

Sited at the trail-head near a sheer cliff cantilevering over the Lysefjord, this mountain lodge was formed with a profile meant to echo the surrounding peaks. Bent around a rock outcropping, the project includes 32 large wooden ribs structured around a continuous prefabricated system.

© Jure Živković

© Jure Živković

© Jure Živković

© Jure Živković

Black Lodge and a Walnut Tree by Tomislav Soldo, Croatia

Conceptually formed around an existing walnut tree, this lodge emerged on a sloped terrain with panoramic mountain views. The project was designed as an enclosed belvedere, house on a hill and a terraced extension.

© David Jameson Architect

© David Jameson Architect

© David Jameson Architect

© David Jameson Architect

Hoopers Island Residence by David Jameson Architect, Church Creek, Md., United States

Located on a Chesapeake Bay barrier island near the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, this lodge is sited among an estuarine marshland ecosystem. Fusing architecture and landscape, the project features a simple form inspired by vernacular barns and fishing shacks.

© Andersson-Wise Architects

© Andersson-Wise Architects

© Andersson-Wise Architects

© Andersson-Wise Architects

Stone Creek Camp by Andersson-Wise Architects, Bigfork, Mont., United States

The Stone Creek Camp project was built on the flanks of a long hill. Greeted by two gatehouse buildings when entering the property, guests can travel down a pebble and earth path to the remaining living spaces and boat dock.

© Tonu Tunnel

© Tonu Tunnel

© Tonu Tunnel

© Tonu Tunnel

© KOKO architects

© KOKO architects

SKÅPET by KOKO architects, Forsand, Rogaland, Norway

Designed for amateur hikers and mountaineering enthusiasts, SKÅPET provides space to rest, gather and relax. Located on the rocky shores of the Soddatjørn Mountain Lake, these lodges were created as ready-made factory modules.

© Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

© Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

© Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

© Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

© Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

© Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

Backcountry Hutby Leckie Studio Architecture + Design

Formed with careful consideration of assembly, modularity and minimal site work, the Backcountry Hut provides mass customization in a variety of wilderness settings. The turnkey solution was designed with a flat, pre-packed assembly system and was inspired by the Tiny House Movement.

© TICA architecture et urbanisme

© TICA architecture et urbanisme

© TICA architecture et urbanisme

© TICA architecture et urbanisme

© TICA architecture et urbanisme

© TICA architecture et urbanisme

The Marais Girard’s Eco lodge by TICA architecture et urbanisme, Bretignolles-sur-Mer, France

La ferme du Marais Girard project was made as an ecological village with multiple programs and spatial uses. Created with close relationships to nature, the lodge transforms an existing barn and courtyard to encourage movement between interior and exterior space.

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