In Norway, a Brick Home With an Institutional Feel Is Surprisingly “Koselig” Inside

Sanden + Hodnekvam Architects create honey-hued wood interiors that ooze warmth, and an exterior that honors local building traditions.

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Project Details:

Location: Lillehammer, Norway

Architects: Sanden+Hodnekvam Architects

Footprint: 1,000 square feet

Total Square Footage: 2,350 square feet  

From the Architects: "The area around the lake of Mjøsa has long traditions with masonry. It has been the home of 25 brickyards, and both the railway station and church in Lillehammer are made of brick. It’s a durable material with a weight and character providing it with a timeless quality. Today, it is usually used as cladding without structural properties. Our interest was to find a way to build a brick house within a rational economy and an honesty in terms of tectonic qualities and a visible structure.

"The brick house in Lillehammer is dressed in red brick wrapped around a load-bearing wooden structure, made visible through the repetitious openings. Brick is clearly and visibly used as cladding and weather protection. At the same time, the volume and openings are planned in relation to the properties of material using traditional masonry techniques to create openings without excessive use of steel and concrete as reinforcements. The repetitive and simple facades follow the grid of the underlying wooden structure with simple detailing and a contemporary aesthetic. Yet, the architectural expression is a continuation of the historical references and brick structures found in the area.

"The brick house with a tower is located in a steep hill facing south-west, a few kilometers south of Lillehammer, overlooking the lake of Mjøsa and with views toward the city center. A trail runs parallel with the house on the rear side. The placement of the house is chosen to get long views above the adjacent neighbors below, while at the same time preserving the views from the trail. The tower is comprised of one open space overlooking the city to the north and the lake to the west. A part of the tower is open to the floor below, establishing a visual contact between the different levels and providing the kitchen area with air and a generous ceiling height."

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