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Norrnäs

The client came to us in 2022, to look at designing him a house on a fantastic site overlooking the Stockholm archipelago. He was a developer client we had worked with previously, but this project was a private home for him to use himself.

The brief was to maximise the potential of the site, celebrate its location and context, and to produce a stunning contemporary home. As a repeat-client, he knows, understands, and loves our design ethos. This trust and mutual understanding create a degree of freedom and intuitive design that makes the process really enjoyable.

 

There are currently summer houses on the site, close to the water. This presented a challenge as the planning regulations limit the extent to which the built area can be increased, and how close to the sea one can build. We successfully gained an exemption application, which allowed us to build a bigger home close to the water. After this, we could refine the design and apply for full planning permission – which we achieved. We were also able to secure additional planning permission for another house on the site, so that the client can benefit from additional value from the site. Being able to provide him with both a beautiful home to use, and the investment potential of the additional house, was a huge advantage for him.

One of the main design drivers for the house, was to maximise the views out, whilst not negatively impacting the site, nor falling foul of the tight regulations surrounding the planning exemption dispensation. We have designed a single-storey house, that is cut down into the site, allowing us to maintain the open feeling of the site, and still benefit from the expansive views south-west over the water.

All principal rooms face the water, allowing the social spaces and family bedrooms to enjoy the beautiful vistas. On the north-east side of the house, we have located the study, plant, utility rooms, and guest accommodation. The rear of the house consists of a solid, C-shaped wall, that digs down, embracing the ancillary rooms. In contrast, the front elevation is almost entirely glazed, with an overhanging roof to provide sheltered outdoor areas protected from wind and harsh sun.

The material palette is minimal, with polished concrete floors throughout, and clay plaster and micro-cement wall finishes. The similarity of finishes helps to tie the building together into a very light interior, with simple restrained accents of pale oak and soft furnishings. It feels inherently Scandinavian.

Part of what reinforces this Scandinavian identity, is the horizontal emphasis of the building – long and low to the ground. In summer in Sweden, the sun dips so low that it just sweeps the horizon, providing a very horizontal light. The essence of this is distilled in this house, providing a wide expansive frontage, through which the rooms can capture the light and views.

  • Ström Architects team −  Magnus Ström
  • Location − Stockholm, Sweden
  • Visualisation − NuMa
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