Location: Goteborg, Sweden
Design date: 2013
Completion date: 2014
Site area: 897m2
Built area: 182m2
Architect: Wingardh Arkitektkontor/Gert and Karin Wingardh
Builder: Alfredssons Bygg & Fastighetsservice AB
A small house that wants to be big. A small footprint and simple construction means low cost. That’s the idea when we set about designing a house for a young couple on a site surrounded by other single-family homes on the west side of Gothenburg.
We turn inward with an atrium scheme, away from the view of—and from—the neighbors. The nicest view is toward the mature trees and the exposed bedrock in the southwest, so we open the courtyard up on that side.
The building is perched lightly on piers, hovering a half-meter over granite bedrock honed by the ice age. That means that to reach the building we need a stair and a ramp (accessibility requirement) along the blank northeast side. The elevated floor of the atrium courtyard is built up of decking over beams, with steps down to the surrounding terrain.
On the inside, it’s the outside that dominates. The narrow kitchen with its long table is always a part of the changing seasons that play out in the courtyard. Floor-to-ceiling glass and broad sliding doors help erase the boundary between inside and out. Okay, it’s a cliché—but it works.
There’s a steep ladderway up to the workroom (yes, there’s a glimpse of the sea from up there) and a shallow, almost monumentally processional stair up to a roof terrace. Additional rooms could be built around the courtyard if needed in the future to accommodate a bunch of children.
The entrance wall is thickened to hold a fireplace (the chimney is part of the roof landscape) with a built-in sofa, a room for collections, the kitchen (back-to-back with the exterior mechanical room), and an air-lock entry with guest bathroom.
The exterior is clad entirely in whitewashed (Sioo treated) smooth-planed spruce. It will age to a pale gray.