Prefabricated timber housing, Norway | Конкурс Жилые дома, Норвегия

Competition, 2014

The risk with any system type construction is that the resulting aesthetic is one of repetition; each element or house/apartment is readily identifiable as an individual element and yet the same. The desire to create collections of dwellings that contribute to a greater whole while also encouraging difference and diversity has been at the heart of our thinking. Furthermore such an approach allows an identifiable hierarchy or sequence of spaces to be created that encourages a sense of ownership; these become more intimate closer to 'home'.

Working within an existing masterplan with prescribed limits the organizing principle for the houses and apartment building are generous circulation spaces and the desire to create simple yet well-proportioned, day-lit rooms with an emphasis on views 'across and between' living spaces and beyond to the external landscape. The layout of both the apartment buildings and terraces is efficient and easily constructed with an emphasis on the accommodation adaption overtime and avoids prescriptive use. Each pair of houses within the terrace, like the apartment building entrances, share a landscaped approach or small court flanked by the cycle and other common storage that leads to a sheltered lobby space before entering the house.

A consistent architectural and material language is used throughout: within this framework subtle variations can occur. The most apparent is the folding facade at the front of each building that follows the internal planning and gives each facade its own rhythm within which tall windows and opening are located. Vertical timber boards finished with a paint containing aluminium particles accentuate the changing qualities of aspect and sunlight. Into this surface is incised a cross hatch pattern with recessed holes, which at the lower levels contain stainless steel pegs supporting a wire lattice for planting. In contrast, brilliant white travertine is used for the window cills and cantilevered balconies with filigree balustrade.

View from the dining room through the kitchen to the living spaces beyond

Front elevation the smaller terraced houses

A generous landing to the stair gives each house a focus

Typical ground and first floor plans

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