12 Scandinavian Prefabs That Embody High-Design Hygge
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12 Scandinavian Prefabs That Embody High-Design Hygge

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By Kate Reggev
Found throughout the region, these homes are big on style and sustainability.

With their cold winters, short summers, and limited daylight hours during much of the year, Scandinavian designers face challenges that are unique to the region. Despite this—and in many ways because of it—more than 80 percent of the Scandinavian housing market is comprised of prefab single-family houses because of the simplified fabrication and construction. While many of these residences are more traditional in their appearance, there is also a strong current of thoughtfully-designed modern prefabs designed by renowned architects that are growing in popularity. Here, we've profiled some of the most exciting, inspiring Scandinavian prefab homes in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark.

A Prefab Home With An Inverted Roof

Winner of the 2011 Log House of the Year Award, the 1,206-square-meter Lokki, which was designed by as architect Kari Lappalainen and furnished by interior designer Hanni Koroma, has an inverted pitch roof that’s inspired by seagull wings.

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.

"How would a kid draw a house?" architect Per Franson asked himself when designing the Olivero-Reinius family home. The simple prefab structure’s unusual color comes from a traditional source: falu rödfärg, the historic mineral paint that gives the region’s famous barns their red color.

Designed to adapt to a variety of weather conditions, Gapahuk – a prefab cabin by Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta  has a twisted roof that folds down on one side to offer wind protection, or tilts up on the other to capture more sunlight. The home was designed for Rindalshytter, Norway's leading producer of leisure homes, as a combination of tradition and innovation; the name of the cabin, Gapahuk, is a Norwegian word for a simple wooden structure with two or three walls and a roof often created as a shelter from rough weather conditions. Drawing inspiration from the traditional gapahuk, the cabin is shaped with the aim of adapting to varying weather conditions. 

Multi-discipli­nary Swedish firm Claesson Koivisto Rune created the plans for this home for design-minded kit-house manu­fact­urer Arkitektus. Considering the unique balance of the facade, as well as its climate-specific construction—the asymmetrical "lifted" roof allows for both water drainage and maximum light during the dark winter months—Claesson Koivisto Rune’s approach to the project is some­what surprising. "We design buildings from the inside out," explains principal Eero Koivisto. "The exterior is more or less a product of the interior plans."  

Helsinki architect Ville Hara and designer Linda Bergroth collaborated on this prefab shed-meets-sleeping-cabin, which can be assembled with little else than a screwdriver. Bergroth, inspired by nomadic yurt dwellers, wanted an indoor/outdoor experience for her property in Finland.

The Plus House—named for the perpendicular trajectories of light and air that pass through on the top and bottom floors—is one in a series of architect-designed homes commissioned by Arkitekthus, a development company founded five years ago with a pledge to improve the quality of prefab architecture. The spruce panels that coat the second-floor exterior will fade in tandem with the zinc-coated steel that rims the glazed windows and doors. "They will go gray like we do," says architect Claesson Koivisto Rune.

When Oslo-based architect Marianne Borge was approached in 2004 by a client who wanted an actual cabin rather than a second home, she was instantly inspired by the challenge of working on a smaller scale. The home, called Woody35, has a distinct shape that makes it stand out from its surroundings despite the modest size of the building.

The roughly 160-square-foot modules, dubbed Mini House 2.0, were built in collaboration with Swedish manufacturer Sommarnöjen, and are delivered flat-packed. The homes are painted wood, and include a shaded deck space, plus full insulation and electricity, for a price of about $29,000. The modules come in various layouts, and can be configured and combined to include a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living space.

Founded in 1958 by the Finnish Saarelainen brothers in Eastern Finland, Honka—known as Honkarakenne in Finland—was the first industrial manufacturer of log houses. Today, the pioneer brand has built almost 85,000 houses across the globe, including a quaint Scottish retreat for the Queen of England in 1969. Pictured here is an exterior view of Kide, a sauna cabin located on the west coast of Finland.

Tucked away on the edge of a small lake surrounded by mountains and topped off with a grass-covered roof, this hunting cabin designed by Snøhetta is made with locally sourced stones. The 376-square-foot prefab mountain hut sleeps up to 21 guests around a central fireplace.

At 74 square meters (797 square feet), this variation of the Vinkelhuset line by Danish modular cabin designer Møn Huset is L-shaped in plan and hits all the right notes, boasting clean lines, a practical gabled roof, and simple, attractive detailing on the interior.

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