Monday, February 01, 2010

Hill Hut

Hill Hut in Stockholm, Sweden by visiondivision

Text and images are courtesy architects Anders Berensson and Ulf Mejergren; photographs are by Clive Jenkins.

Visiondivision was commissioned to design an extension to a villa for a couple's two kids in a picturesque lake setting in southern Stockholm. Instead of designing a house with expensive materials and detailing we deliberately chose rather cheap windows, facade materials and so on, thus allowing a bigger budget for a more playful architecture. It is much cheaper to get something wonderful done with landscaping than traditional architecture so we made a landscape surface with enhanced elements around and inside the house for the kids to thrive in.

To be able to create a steady foundation for the new house, huge earth masses were to be taken away and used to create a hill which we enhanced with different elements such as an outdoor cinema and a sled slope. A carpet of artificial grass connects seamlessly with the natural grass on the hill and enters via the terrace to the living room between the two children’s room. These artificial hills can be moved around and can be put outside as well. Two pairs of big glass doors on both sides of the room makes one fully take in the surroundings and creates the impression that the nature goes in to the house, an effect is even more apparent when the doors are fully open. The carpet of artificial grass continues out on the other terrace as well as to the hallway and makes a stop just before the old house.

The excavations left a big void under the house, so we made two secret caves. One cave is directed to a lush grass knoll that leads down to the lake and is disguised with artificial grass to blend in. The other cave is pointed towards a patch of forest and is left in its raw concrete. The caves are accessible from both the outside and from the children’s room by hatches in the floor. For the outdoor cinema a screen is set up between two trees that also have two bird houses on its trunks, actually two disguised speakers for this small outdoor cinema. At daytime this is a perfect place to just take in the lake atmosphere and observing bird behavior, night time is movie time.

The house itself follows the municipality’s different regulations such as the pointed roof and the appearance. Wood is the predominant material in this region, like the existing house and the neighbors. We chose white corrugated metal sheeting that looks like wood from a distance but is more alive and reflective as one comes closer and gets nice shadow effects from the surrounding trees. Choosing metal sheets also allowed us to have the walls and the roof in the same material which creates a very consistent building. The beautiful setting and the strict whitish house combined with the eccentric landscaping make it a great place to grow up in.