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Summer house, Sweden by Tham & Videgard Arkitekter

Highly Commended: Archetypal volumes of a gabled house raised soberly atop a granite bedrock gazing at the horizon of Lagnö’s archipelago

The setting for this weekend house is Lagnö in the Stockholm archipelago. Many Swedes own weekend and summerhouses, which tend to take the form of rustic timber cabins in the landscape.

Here, architects Bolle Tham and Martin Videgård explore a different sensibility. ‘We wanted to search for a way to design the house as an integral part of nature − rather than a light wooden cottage − where the material’s weight and colour connects to the archipelago’s granite bedrock’, they say.

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The monolithic concrete structure seems to grow out of the granite bedrock

The house is divided into two volumes placed side by side to form a linear bar in the landscape where the forest opens out into a bay. Approached from the north, the entrance presents itself as opening between the volumes, prompting the visitor towards the light and water.

The opening is sheltered by an angular canopy of glass.The character of the house is derived from a series of transverse gable roofs. The gables are connected to each other and form a crisply pleated facade, like a line of boathouses.

This creates a sequence of varied room heights in the otherwise open living space that extends through the entire length of the main volume. With its relatively shallow room depth and a sliding glass partition connecting to an external terrace, the space can be described as a niche in relation to the landscape of the archipelago.

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The living space opens up to the archipelago beyond

A sequence of smaller cellular rooms runs along the north edge, accessed through a wall of sliding doors. The rooms are lit by openable skylights and form smaller pitched ceilings within the main roof volume. Facades, terrace and interior floors are all made of exposed concrete, counterpointed by white walls and ash fittings.

The concrete has a weight and solidity, so that the house appears to grow out of its site. The jury was impressed by the calm, sober reticence of the architecture and its thoughtful relationship with its setting.

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A series of transverse gable roofs

Fact File

Architect: Tham & Videgard Arkitekter
Photographs: Åke E:son Lindman

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