The holiday home in Havsdalen designed by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter is a refuge amidst the fjords of Norway for a family with three children. Having chosen timber as the structural material for the project, the architects make the most of its qualities of durability and thermal isolation with a view to achieving sustainability.
The ageing that will necessarily take place will result in evolution of the colour of the home, giving it the grey patina of traditional local buildings. In addition, the home employs formal solutions alluding to the archetypal country home, in which the traditional single volume with gabled roof is broken up into several smaller volumes, each containing a part of the home with a specific function.
The floor plan, shaped like a stylised tree, puts the bedrooms in the trunk and the living area in the fork of the two branches.
The trunk is the path taken to reach the four bedrooms, which are aligned along one wall opening onto the hall windows. The sliding door on the master bedroom opens onto a bow-window, inviting the inhabitants to look out over the landscape. The most convivial part of the home is located where the layout separates into a V shape: the big kitchen with its fireplace, leading into the dining room in one “branch” and the living room in the other. These two rooms opening onto the kitchen are not aligned with the volume of the bedroom area in the layout, but are turned northwards, where the land on which the villa is built gently slopes downward. The bedroom area continues into a second volume containing a small guest annex separate from the main home, which can be reached via a wooden walkway.
The bedroom area and the kitchen are simply separated by the different spatial set-up, because after the series of bedrooms opening onto the corridor, it becomes a big open area. Here the difference in the level of the ground which allowed addition of a lower level promotes subdivision of the living areas without any additional walls: a few steps leading up to the dining room on one side and the living room on the other ensure that we perceive the change, even while giving the impression of a single unified space. The same philosophy is reflected in the choice of putting niches in each room with window seats and bow-windows, rather than setting up closed rooms (study, library, reading room) in which to seek privacy. The home is designed as a place for the family to be together, but also permits solitary moments to add to the quality of the shared space.
The formal detail of the gable drawing the shape of each of these window niches constitutes a distinctive vocabulary which is also found on the roof. In short, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter’s project picks up on the symbols of Norwegian vernacular architecture and updates them to suit today’s lifestyle.
Design: RRA Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter
Location: Havsdalen, Buskerud (Norway)
Structural design: Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter
Total usable floor space: 130 m2
Project start date: 2011
Completion of construction: 2013
Timber frame structure
Wooden floor and wall coverings
Photos: © Søren Harder Nielsen, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter