Nature House – A Cob House Enveloped by a Geodesic Dome in the Arctic Circle

Set on an island called Sandhornøya in northern Norway, this unique home was built by Benjamin and Ingrid Hjertefølger. Their house consists of a cob home wrapped up in a solar geodesic dome.


The Hjertefølger’s created the home to allow them, and their four children, to live out a more sustainable lifestyle, growing the majority of their own food and living off-grid.

Nature House - Benjamin and Ingrid Hjertefølger - Norway - Exterior - Humble Homes


Simply referred to as Nature House, the property is set within the Arctic Circle. To combat the – at times – extreme weather conditions, they built a geodesic dome over the main home. The dome essentially creates a greenhouse, bringing in plenty of solar gain while avoiding the cooling effects of the wind.

Nature House - Benjamin and Ingrid Hjertefølger - Norway - Dome - Humble Homes


Construction of the house was completed with the help of friends and family, and with the topping off of the dome, the Hjertefølgers moved in on December 8, 2013.

Nature House - Benjamin and Ingrid Hjertefølger - Norway - Dome Interior - Humble Homes

From the owners: “The house works as we intended and planned. We love the house; it has a soul of its own and it feels very personal. What surprises us is the fact that we built ourselves anew as we built the house. The process changed us, shaped us.”

Nature House - Benjamin and Ingrid Hjertefølger - Norway - Interior - Humble Homes

They grow some of their own food, although at certain times of the year it’s impossible to grow anything at all; there are three months of darkness during winter. On the other hand, without the dome their growing cycle would be reduced by 5 months. They currently have apples, cherries, apricots, kiwis, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, squash and melons. Not a bad haul.

Nature House - Benjamin and Ingrid Hjertefølger - Norway - Interior 2 - Humble Homes

The house isn’t the only environmentally friendly aspect to this project – the Hjertefølgers themselves lead a very green lifestyle. Aside from growing their own food, they also reuse all of their grey and black water. It’s used for fertilizing and watering plants. Food scraps are stored and used to create compost.

For more off-grid homes check out this charming cabin from France by Jean Barache. Or, Ecocapsule, an off-grid tiny dwelling by Nice Architects. See all off-grid.

Via Inhabitat
Photos: Ingrid Hjertefølger

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. I read somewhere just recently on the issue of blackwater. Shouldn’t be used to fertilise crops that you are going to eat. Allegedly anyway.

    Yet a vast amount of the crops being sold that were grown in China are fertilised that very way. And, haven’t heard of any major breakouts from these produce items at all.

  2. It depends on the crop. Blackwater shouldn’t be used on ground-growing vegetables like carrots, onions, potatoes, etc., but it’s okay for trees and vines. All of the fruit and veg listed grow above ground, as do herbs.

  3. Well, like I said… in China human waste is used as a fertiliser a LOT! Yet, I have to date not heard of one case of an outbreak from it. Not that there has never been, yet I would have thought if it was an issue then it would have been found out.

    In the USofA on the other hand, lots of e coli and other nasties from a supposedly advanced nation. Remember the lettuce scandal a year or so back?

    So begs the question, is human waste “really” a big no no, or is it a no no because of Govt regulations and people’s squeamishness?