Schjelderup Trondahl Architects designed a single family house in the city of Holmestrand, in the Suburbs of Oslo, Norway. The residence is located in a breathtakingly beautiful setting, right off a prominent cliff edge overlooking Holmestrand and the Norwegian Fjords.
Schjelderup Trondahl Architects embraced the challenge of such a demanding site and demonstrated an exemplary approach. The final outcome is a residence that feels like a subtle intervention to the landscape as it merges with the terrain in pure harmony; it implements and respects the surrounding landscape while being a contemporary and efficient dwelling.
The built volume demonstrates a distinctive duality with its compact, west façade facing towards the access road while the more extroverted and fragmented façade opens up to a great view on the east. The two main wings of the house are bent 22 degrees relative to each other to adapt to the landscape and capture different views.
The ground floor is designed in site-typical colored tile stone diaphragm walls and light concrete floors that enable the overall minimal ambiance of the house and create a comfortable feeling of inhabitation. The upper part of the house is a very different structure from the one below; a wooden box that climbs and cantilevers over the heavy stone base, creates a striking visual antithesis between the two masses.
The walls, external ceilings and roof are all covered with burnt and brushed heartwood fir to make them maintenance-free. In that way, the patina will be further processed through the years, while the soft parts of the surface will stay burnt and the harder winter grain will become silvery gray; a rough yet refined aesthetic expression.
In the interior, the house features wooden walls and ceilings clad with white oiled poplar plywood boards and white ash floorboards that introduce a light softness to the space. Schjelderup Trondahl Architects have also designed integrated furnishings which were made on site from white fiber cement boards and bronze colored lacquered MDF, where each material and its placement defines a different function.
The interior also features massif oak windows and doors that frame spectacular views and highlight the thickness of the wall mass, respectively.
Due to its complex form, cantilevered roof, shifting facades and intersecting spaces the house offers a spatial experience based on the various and diverse views, which penetrate the built mass as well as the randomly occurring reflections.
On the whole, Schjelderup Trondahl Architects have designed a residence which essentially encourages spontaneity; they have produced an impromptu dwelling experience, which integrates natural beauty and everyday living comfort.
Words: Ivi Vassilopoulou