The site, located north of Oslo’s city centre, is part of a neighborhood consisting primarily of villas from the 1930’s. Over the past few years, this area has been the subject of an increasing number of densification projects. In this particular case, the client wished to build a house for his family of five in the backyard of a property that has been owned by the family for generations.

Project details

Project
Wothouse in Oslo, Norway
Client Private
Architect
NSW AS
Facing bricks Terca Linnaeus reduced
Floor area 248 m²

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

Wothouse in Oslo, Norway

A simple cubic geometry

The yard is encircled by traditional wood clad villas, lush fruit trees and here and there a protected maple tree. Out of respect for the surrounding buildings, the house was given a simple cubic geometry. “We aimed to create a compact, solid and restrained stone building firmly rooted to the ground”, explains architect Gudmund Stenseth. The building’s position on the site is a result of general provisions regarding minimum clearances to neighbouring properties and roadways, yet it succeeds in creating intimate outdoor spaces towards both the south and the north.

Interior awash with daylight

The square structure is punctured by precise cut-outs for the windows and doors, whose deliberate positioning creates varying daylight effects throughout the three floors of the building. The skylight, located directly above the staircase, fills the house with daylight all the way down to the basement, an area which is additionally immersed in indirect daylight from the deep light well. The way in which natural light enters and is filtered by the building is constantly changing. This reinforces the characteristics of the different living areas, while also ensuring varied views and close connections to the exterior environment.

Brick emphasises the building's size

“A brick facing seemed to us to be the ideal choice to emphasize the large-scale of the house. The bricks were laid with unusually narrow mortar joints recessed from the face of the brick to give the impression of a dry stacked façade”, explains the architect. Except for the exterior doors made of oak, the palette of materials is mostly muted. Contrasting the exterior‘s darker colouring, the materials used in the interior are limited to concrete and plasterboard surfaces with a continuous floor surface of untreated spruce.

An achievement based on close collaboration

The family’s space requirements are likely to be under constant change over the coming years, and consequently, a flexible floor plan was a prerequisite. “We favoured smooth transitions between different functions and have planned the bedrooms as natural extensions to the living area on the first floor”, comments Stenseth.
WOTHOUSE has stemmed from a particularly good relationship with the client and the different craftsmen, and has resulted in a seemingly simple house with conservative land use and precise details.

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