Here’s a look at a tiny dwelling concept from the Arctic expanses of Greenland that made the rounds a couple months back but that I’ve been sitting on, waiting for the perfect day to share. And today — a day when the already brutalized Northeast is being clobbered with wind, snow, and that dreaded “mix” and when the weather conditions are slightly more appealing in Nuuk than in New York City — just happens to be that day.

As you may be already aware, trailer-bound tiny houses that can be transported to and fro with a four-cylinder vehicle are the hottest thing on four-plus wheels since the Airstream. With his Sledge Project, Dutch artist Rob Sweere has given mobile mini-shelters a decidedly Arctic-appropriate, sea ice-compatible makeover: white-painted, insulated wooden huts with integrated runners that can be towed across Greenland’s vast snowy landscapes by snowmobile or, more authentically, “draft animal” (read: dog).

With their odd shapes and portholes, Sweere’s “sled habitats” kind of look like petite alien pods deposited at the foot of a massive iceberg (one Designboom commenter likens them to “layered rolls of toilet paper.”) Built to accommodate six, the interior of each mobile hut includes benches and tabletops for “sitting, cooking, and sleeping” but not much else aside from some “bespoke design details” and an emphasis on “functionally and aesthetic beauty.” There’s no heat or electricity to speak of, but as Sweere explains to Co.Exist, “because of the dry climate, you can light a few candles and the sledge is warm and comfortable.”

Commissioned by the Ummannaq Polar Institute, the structures were built by Sweere and a small production team that included local Inuit hunters and children. Yep, children pitched in, too. After all, that’s who the dog-drawn huts were designed and built for.

As reported by Co.Exist, Sweere designed the movable sled huts for the young indigenous residents of Children’s Home Ummannaq, a shelter for abused and neglected children located in a remote outpost over 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle (apparently, it’s the northern-most facility of its kind which I'd totally believe). After learning that a permanent home on a nearby island that the children had previously lodged in while roughing it with adult Inuit hunters — these special excursions away from the village last days, sometimes weeks — had sunk into the melting permafrost, Sweere came up with a climate change-friendly solution in the form of the Sledge Project.

It's enough to melt your heart (but not the permafrost) just a bit on this cold, blustery day. Stay warm and be safe.

Via [Co.Exist], [Designboom]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

In Greenland, wooden micro-shelters designed to be pulled by dogs
Built for the residents of a children's shelter in Greenland, Rob Sweere's 'sled habitats' can be towed by dog across the country's expanses of sea ice.