A Norwegian Family Retreat Balances Private and Communal Spaces
"To gather at the family retreat for weekends or holidays is a beautiful tradition," says architect Snorre Stinessen of Stinessen Arkitektur, "but the challenge is often that given a few days, you also long for some privacy again." For this recently completed vacation home on the Malangen Peninsula, an hour drive south of Tromsø in Northern Norway, Stinessen addressed this need by siting two clusters of cabins to overlook a fjord. Each cluster, the first identified as the main building and the second called the annex, is comprised of separate volumes defined by their function. The main building and the annex are connected by a covered central "courtyard" with a fireplace and outdoor kitchen, which serves as the entry to the home.
The main building consists of two volumes: one houses a children's room and a small, secondary living room, while the main bathroom and master bedroom reside in the second. These also connect to an open kitchen, dining, and living area. All of the interior volumes are linked by "in-between" spaces with concrete floors and wood-slatted ceilings.
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The annex, also comprised of two volumes, hosts utility rooms, a sauna, guest rooms, and an activity room. "Each group of rooms is done as separate volumes to achieve an additional layer of privacy," said Stinessen, "but also to enhance the main room's contact to the clearing in the forest and the contact to the outdoors in the transition spaces."
Architect, Landscape Design, and Interior Design: Stinessen Arkitektur AS