Claesson Koivisto Rune's Scandinavian Prefab Prototype

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By Madeline A. Potter
Claesson Koivisto Rune introduces its second iteration of the prefab home, combining time-honored Scandinavian touches with the studio’s signature polished aesthetic.

The incredibly prolific Stockholm studio Claesson Koivisto Rune first delved into prefabricated architecture in 2008 with Arkitekthus, a typical prefab factory in Sweden. Using a slightly different framework, their new collection of three houses for another building company, Fiskarhedenvillan, comes with plans and building materials—and buyers must build the structure themselves, onsite. With a hybrid pitched-flat roof and large windows that allow light to flood the interior, the Tind house archetype bridges the gap between modern and traditional Scandinavian design.

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Organized around the staircase and entrance, or core, is a succession of communal living spaces that connect to the outdoors via seamless windows. Images courtesy Claesson Koivisto Rune.

It’s more flexible and less expensive than what architect Mårten Claesson calls a "more processed product, where a factory builds the sections and it’s delivered on a truck like Legos." Instead, the Tind house is delivered as building materials, planks, and insulation, with instructions on how to assemble. The designer relates the project to furniture production in the sense that "someone asked us to design a solution for them to manufacture and mass-produce. This is unlike most architecture, which is directly between the architect and client."

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The roofline of the Tind house prototype, designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune for prefab company Fiskarhedenvillan, has more conventional Swedish gables than the flat-roofed modernism of typical prefab units. Images courtesy Claesson Koivisto Rune.

Claesson also explains that, in Sweden, at least from the lofty viewpoint of most architects, prefab construction is considered "inferior to ‘real’ architecture because it’s not made for a specific client." But the "99.9 percent" of people who aren’t professional architects take no issue with modular design. What Claesson Koivisto Rune is banking on is that this audience—who may be wary of the cost of building tailor-made or intimidated by capital-A architecture—will want to get the modern design they’ve grown accustomed to from a new generation of designer-led prefab homes.

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It’s as much a functional choice as a stylistic one: Mårten Claesson explains that the roof meets suburban and rural building height limits while carving out volume beneath for standing room and living space. Images courtesy Claesson Koivisto Rune.

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The Tind’s windows are few, but oversized, and allocated to the most important walls. The firm explains that every opening, window, and door is set flush with the interior and the “thicknesses of the joists are disguised by bevelling the niche,” which allows for a rhythmic effect on the facade. Claesson Koivisto Rune intended the interiors to be both spacious and efficient. Images courtesy Claesson Koivisto Rune.