My mother and my two youngest brothers needed a smaller and simpler house to live in. My youngest brother, Hans, has got Downs-syndrome. It was obvious that they should have a house that afforded less maintenance and fewer square metres. An other important aspect about the house where the need to make both a stimulating and a safe home for Hans.
The house is thought as a place to grow up and a place to grow old. I wanted to make a home where a life can be lived. A home with lots of places and situations, but with a small amount of heated indoor space.
On the island where the house is situated, in the Oslo-fjord, in the south of Norway, there is a long, lush summer. However, there is a constant wind from the south and south/west most of the year particularly whenever the sun is out.
The result of these parameters became a dwelling consisting of a small main-house, a guest-house, a greenhouse and a car-port. The buildings are situated so that they form an atrium or a court. The idea was to make a home that can exist both outdoors and indoors. During the summer-months, the home is in the atrium, the greenhouse and the surrounding woods. During spring and autumn, greenhouse and atrium becomes an extension of the main-house, and in the winter one retires inside. The greenhouse is situated to the south of the atrium to act as a wind-break, while it still lets light through. Originally the plot consisted of a small thicket with pine trees. I kept as many of these as possible.
The main-house is divided into two parts. A private zone with bedrooms and bathroom, and a more public zone with kitchen and living-room. The two parts are divided by a functional wall used for storage.
The house-constructions consists of simple wood-frames, and was designed so that all building-materials could be hand-lifted in place. This was important as I was building the houses myself.
Seen in a sustainability-perspective, the dwelling represents a simple philosophy. It has a small heated indoor area, while it is designed to use the garden for a larger part of the year. As far as possible, all building materials are renewable and environmentally friendly. Almost all building-materials (including insulation) are made from wood, and the dwelling is only heated with renewable firewood. Wall and roof-constructions are semi-permeable or, in other words, breathing. These measures gives a good indoor climate, low energy-consumption and probably also a small CO2-footprint. At the same time it is easy to use and control for the inhabitants.