Rhythmic Black Timber Makes This Swedish Cabin Pop Against Its Surroundings

Owners and architects Saga Karlsson and Edouard Boisse designed their lakeside retreat with a matte finish that goes with the greens of spring or a winter whiteout.

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Project Details:

Location: Olofstorp, Gothenburg, Sweden

Architects: Saga Karlsson and Edouard Boisse

 Footprint: 1,743 square feet

General Contractor: The Carpenters

Structural Engineer: MW Byggtekniska AB

Photographer: James Silverman

From the Architects: "Situated in the rural surroundings of Gothenburg, Villa Jägersro is discreetly inserted into the nature reserve of Vättlefjäll. The topography difference of almost six meters creates a dramatic approach to the home by emphasizing and assuring the persistence of the magnificent vista of the lake beyond.

"A wooden trellis corridor leads guests down to the entrance level, acting as a transition between the parking and the landscape and again, framing the view. Upon arrival, internal large windows across the front façade blur the boundary between inside and out. Inspired from the geometric rationality of a Roman architectural loggia, which acts as both practical and functional, Villa Jägersro’s facade toward the lake recreates the loggia. Triangulated pillars provide a convex, graphic shape and unique form while also encapsulating gutters that collect and disperse the rainwater from the flat roof. The form of the loggia provides shelter to an external decking, providing both depth and proportion to the facade.

"Travel within Asia, Europe, and the U.S. provided inspiration for an atrium plan form. The house, a simple square form, is structured and organized around an inner courtyard further emphasizing this building’s connection with nature. The atrium is likened to a memorial of the existing ground.

"Public and private spaces are physically and intentionally separated by a few steps. In addition, the public spaces, entrance, kitchen, dining room, and living room are orientated adjacent to the dramatic lake view. Bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage spaces are nestled into the back of the building and thus the landscape with views into the depths of the forest. The complex site orientation thus brings full meaning to the atrium, a hole in the middle not only aesthetic but functional through the addition of evening light to the middle of the volume.

"An early sketch envisioned the house as an open and transparent glass volume inspired by a ’60s California residence which play with the boundary of external and internal. However, after the architects and homeowners, Saga and Edouard, first camped on site and saw the thriller film Signs, their sketches developed and produced the thick walls providing safety in the dark and wild environment.

"In the book As Little Design As Possible, published in 2009, Dieter Rams writes in reference to the addition of red dots on the Tizio Lamp from Richard Sapper: ‘Having a small touch of color makes it more colorful than having the whole thing in the same color,’ he says. Villa Jägersro, however, is one color: black. Stark contrast is created through the juxtaposition of the matte black facade, and the natural and ever-changing colors of the landscape. Thus it is in fact more colorful within the wider scale of both house and context."

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