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Fireplace for Children by Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter, Trondheim, Norway

Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter’s timber folly-esque structure provides shelter and a place for story telling at a Norwegian kindergarten. Photography by Jason Havneraas and Grete Fredriksen

Exhibiting the same sort of formal dexterity as the Focal Shift fireplace, Fireplace For Children has a surreal, folly-esque quality to it. The outdoor structure can be easily visualised set in an 18th-century country estate, but its actual location is in a modern kindergarten in Trondheim, Norway. Inspired by the Norwegian turf huts and old log constructions, the wooden, meringue-like form creates shelter for hardy Norwegians, who generally live their lives in accordance with the age-old Nordic mantra: ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’.

Providing a place for story telling, the structure is made largely from material scavenged from a nearby building site and comprises 80 circular layers of timber, each formed by 28 chamfered-pine planks of diminishing length, separated by oak spacers. Geometric order, coupled with the relative scale of units that recedes as the structure rises, creates a delightful optical effect with shifting opacity as the viewer’s eyes move around the space.

The timber superstructure is anchored to an in-situ concrete base that forms a sinusoidal perimeter seat. A double-curved sliding door was designed for locking the structure. The fire is lit in a shallow steel bowl that sits directly beneath the high-level vent, the internal surface of which already bears the rich patina of smoky air.

Architect Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter, Oslo, Norway
Project team Marit Justine Haugen, Dan Zohar, Rani Ankori
Contractor Pan Landskap

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