The starting point for this task was a typical challenge in Oslo: densification in an area of extant single family houses. The plot was a lovely old garden. It was important for us to preserve much of the garden for outdoor use, but also as a natural quality to be enjoyed by residents, outside as well as inside. Therefore, the ground floor has a relatively limited footprint, while the larger upper floor cantilevers out to create covered outdoor areas.
The house is divided into smaller volumes to adapt to the relatively tight situation and the scale of the surrounding buildings. So that the clients could finance the house, a part of it forms a separate unit to rent out. This area can easily be integrated into the house at a later stage.
As an addition to the garden, and to compensate for the reduced view, the project creates an inner landscape, a sequence of rooms of varying scale and utility, different degrees of transparency and privacy, changing views and light conditions. The central double height living room is the heart of the house and connects all rooms and areas. The room is surrounded in the first floor by lobby, kitchen and dining room, and the garden with its variety of outdoor areas.
A staircase leads up to a gallery with access to the private rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms. The gallery is a casual area, and acts as an extension of the rooms. A large skylight provides fluctuating light and shadow effects through the day.
The house structure is prefabricated wooden columns and beams. All structure elements are exposed in the interior of the project. The cantilevered rooms on the 2nd floor hang from high beams under the roof. The beams have different dimensions, depending on the cantilever length. The columns have unique dimensions, adapted to their individual loads. It has not been a goal to standardize or clean up the construction, but rather let it grow forth as an organic result of the housing geometry.
This is a system that cannot immediately be read as a clear structure, but rather has qualities akin to those of a forest, where your gaze can wander along continuing branches. The project is carried out within a limited budget. Open and confident cooperation between builder, architect and contractor has nevertheless enabled a distinctive and elaborate house.