A Wood Screen Wraps an Island Retreat for Two Artists in Norway

A Wood Screen Wraps an Island Retreat for Two Artists in Norway

By Melissa Dalton
A Kebony screen casts crisscrossing shadows inside, creating the experience of sitting under a leafy canopy.

The brief for this retreat was fairly straightforward: two artists needed a house for contemplation and work on an island off the southern coast of Norway. Since the site is predominated by expanses of rock, Atelier Oslo decided to fit out the home’s interior with concrete to make it feel integrated with the surrounding landscape. A prefabricated wood structure forms the skeleton of the house, while an exterior screen made of Kebony brings an artful element to the facade that casts an intricate web of shadows inside, too.

The 753-square-foot retreat has two bedrooms and a bath, and takes advantage of its rocky site.

"The entrance is a stair that goes through the building, taking you to the entrance on the front side," says the firm. "The entrance sequence marks a transition and prepares you for the life on the island."

An open living space greets you at the door. The exterior wood will gain a natural silver patina over time, melding with the concrete of the interior.

Short staircases lead to sequestered nooks made for contemplation and getting work done. "The concrete floors and stairs dissolve the division of inside and outside," says Atelier Oslo. "The interior becomes part of the landscape, and walking in and around the cabin gives a unique experience, where the different qualities from the site become part of the architecture."

The exterior Kebony framework designed by Atelier Oslo leads the eye, while still admitting plenty of natural light inside. The sparseness of the interior offers much-needed freedom from distractions.

"The wood structure has a depth that creates a play of shadows through the day and a calm atmosphere resembling the feeling of sitting under a tree," says the firm.

Per the Kebony website, their wood products are composed of sustainable softwoods that have been modified with a bio-based liquid to give them the characteristics of hardwoods, making the end result hardy and durable.

The architects inserted skylights in an artful pattern in the rooftop.

At night, the exterior screen provides privacy when the house is illuminated.

Related Reading: Moveable Wooden Screens Add a Playful Touch to This Airy Home in Israel

Project Credits:

Architecture: Atelier Oslo

Builder: Admar AS

Structural Engineer: Bollinger Grohman Ingenieure


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