Architectural by Nature

Nordic living

Architectural by Nature

Large parts of the Nordics are not densely populated. This is one of the reasons why the air is so clean the further north you go. Another reason is that the Nordic countries value sustainability and use the surroundings with ingenuity to achieve it. In recent times this has resulted in achievements in sustainable technologies. Earlier it resulted in something a bit more hyggeligt/cosy.

Traced by:
Susanne Salmi

When the first Swedes settled in “New Sweden” in the Delaware Valley, everything was new to them, except the need for housing and shelter. They could probably find a certain comfort when they chose to build homes in accordance with nature, just as they had done in “Old Sweden”. This, they knew, had many advantages.

Log cabins

The first log cabins in America were built by emigrants from Sweden and Finland. Energy efficiency, insulation qualities and easy availability are just a few reasons why logs make a great building material. The sheer mass of logs contributes to conserving energy, and the material is particularly well suited for living, as a recent study by the University of Maine at Orono found out. The study showed that logs absorb heat energy throughout the day and radiate it at night, levelling out the temperature and resulting in a pleasant living environment.


The log cabin as an architectural concept still inspires thoughts about simple, affordable and sustainable living close to nature: something the Nordic countries have valued for centuries, and still do today. Another thing the Nordic countries have valued for centuries is hygge. Hygge is a Nordic term for cosiness, which has suffered many attempts to be described internationally. A quick way to describe hygge might be to set the scene. Imagine sitting by a warm fireplace in a log cabin with your family, enjoying a meal or a mellow conversation while it is snowing outside. That is hygge.

 A little more info

  • Ecological benefits of log cabins. Read more
  • The Nordic word hygge was shortlisted for “word of the year” by the Oxford dictionary. Read more