Summer House

by | 22. Aug 2012

Feature | Residential

Photo courtesy Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS

The Summer House is situated in a pine forest on Åland, a Finish Island group in the Baltic Sea, close to Stockholm. Placed just 40 meters from the waters edge, the 42 square meter house was completed in the summer of 2002.

The concept was to create a continuous long folding wooden structure that moves up, down, over, and under through the various spaces, and includes all the  functions. The folding structure creates all the parts of the house: the walls, floor, roof, roof garden, stair and sitting spaces. The house is constructed on pillars to conserve the natural landscape and the roots of all the trees.

Photo courtesy Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS
The house almost doubles in size when opened to the outdoor room between the kitchen and bedroom; creating one large room with a view through the pine forest.
From the roof garden there is a panoramic view over the many island around Åland.

Photo courtesy Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS
The house is constructed of pine timber, from a local sawmill, with birch boards on top of birch plywood.

It is insulated with woven linseed fibres and all the wood is protected with cold pressed linseed oil; making it environmentally responsible.  

Drawing courtesy Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS

The whole process has been a very positive experience for us as young architects.  Four of our students from the Bergen School of Architecture were involved in the construction process and we were fortunate enough to work with a client who wanted to create experimental and radical architecture.

/Todd Saunders & Tommie Wilhelmsen

Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS
Summer House
Hardanger Fjord, Norway

Text by Todd Saunders & Tommie Wilhelmsen:

This is our own personal project. We bought this site ourselves in order to create experimental architecture. The constant question for young architects is how to find clients willing to take a chance on enthusiastic architects with little experience.

Photo courtesy Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS
When we first started our firm, instead of going out looking for clients we went looking for a possible site to build an experimental structure. We found a site about 2 hours drive from Bergen in Hardanger, on the edge of one of Norway’s most dramatic fjords. We bought the site from the last of our savings and designed a structure that would be a part of the natural surroundings, yet in a sensitive contrast to the dramatic landscape.

Photo: Bent Renè Synnevåg
We divided this retreat into two parts: one for the function of eating and sleeping and another smaller room that could be used for whatever the user desired. A long thin floating outdoor floor connects these two parts. This outdoor floor made the space twice as large in the summer, and connected the two buildings, so that one could walk barefoot from one to the other. The front of this arrangement faces the fjords, but the inner space towards the mountain creates an evening space that can be complemented by a small fire.

Photo: Bent Renè Synnevåg
Photo: Bent Renè Synnevåg
We are building both structures ourselves with a carpenter. We are now just finishing the smaller building of the two projects. In June we will start constructing the second longer structure. This longer structure will be finished in July. The house is quite environmental in that it is insulated with recycled newspapers and all trees are conserved and integrated into the project.

Drawing courtesy Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS

Summer House
Sogn and Fjordane, Norway

This Summer House, situated on the shoreline of a long fjord in a pine and heather landscape, is the third  in a series of three houses by Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS.  

Photo courtesy Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS

After working on the first two projects we were contacted by a client who was attracted to our architecture and the way we work with the landscape. The women had a very little old cottage, way too small for her family, and wanted something a little bigger but small enough not to be unobtrusive element in the landscape.

/Todd Saunders & Tommie Wilhelmsen

The house consists of 3 distinct element all under 60 square meters. The largest part of the house contains a combined kitchen and living room with a small bathroom and the parent’s bedroom. The second part of the house has two small bedrooms for the children.  

The third element is a long thin floating roof that connect the other two element and partially covers the outside space making this space usable in all types of weather.

Photo courtesy Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS
From the side the house appears to be one long element split into two parts, yet the form of the house reads as one piece with one break in the elevation and another in its plan. The roof as a third element helps further strengthen the combination and wholeness of the project as one.

The materials will be mostly wood, maintaining a Nordic expression, with the folding elements of the house constructed from timber and the walls from simple birch plywood. The interior will be simple and uncomplicated with as little modern technology as possible.

The owners plan to install a compost toilet and a wood burning stove and rainwater will be collected for bathing.

The house will be completed during the summer of 2003.  

Drawing courtesy Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur ASPlan
The house will be completed during the summer of 2003.  
Saunders & Wilhelmsen Arkitektur AS