“We really wanted to capture the ruinous quality of this old building rather than do something overtly new,” says Greg Blee, founding partner at Blee Halligan Architects. Before construction could begin, however, he and Halligan had to patch the remaining walls using stones found in the nearby river. Wherever a wall had collapsed, the designers inserted framing to create windows and doors. For the roof, they turned to the original tiles. “My father’s terrible at throwing things away,” Blee says. “We took the tiles off 30 years ago, as it was too dangerous to have them up there. They’ve been sitting in the fields ever since, and this was our last chance to use them.”
The house is divided into three sections connected by a series of outdoor galleries. “When I walk from one room to another, I have to go outdoors and feel the weather and nature—rain, cold, and sun,” says Sævik. Instead of emphasizing the expansive panorama of oak, pine, and aspen trees, the house frames select views—a move inspired by Japanese design.