Architect: Petra Gipp Arkitektur
Location: Varberg, Sweden
Structural engineer: Peter Bojrup, Structor AB
Contractor: Mattias Andersson, Designwork
Model Constructor: Veronica Carlsson
Project Area: 108 sqm
Project year: 2007
Photographs: Björn Lofterud
The nature reserve of Grimeton is part of Åkulla beech woods area, situated a couple of miles east of Varberg, close to the world heritage of Grimeton. It is a dramatic nature that rises over the flat arable lands along the seaboard.
Highly situated on a plateau by one of the smaller lakes, Rörsjön, the refugium and the barn are solitarily located.
The barn connects to the newly constructed wood road. Here the forest opens up and creates a place where the encounter between the modern forestry and the old forest are made visible. Here, the forest guard is working with demands for rational forestry and recreation, for peace of mood and sense.
On the top of the hill, the refugium is situated, low-voiced and functional, with the dark introvert façade where only the entrance box breaks the otherwise austere façade. Not before walking along the steep slope towards the house one sees, through the entrance box and the whole building, the magnificent view over the woods and the lake, which with its mist creates an almost bewitching atmosphere.
Windowpanes and picture planes at different distances supported by the guidelines formed by the walls, together with the vertical forest, enhance the drama of these woods; a desire for a strong experience and a sharp contrast between the caring inside and the wild external.
The two volumes in tarred wood stand on an open foundation and details out of concrete, zinc and teak grants sophistication. The volumes are distinct and the details are carefully made to express the architectural entirety of these two buildings.
The varying wood facade folds in under the volume, its corners are mitred and it follows the jutting and suppressed parts, externally as well as internally. The window details are made out of teak, while the fireplace and the exposed surfaces are made out of concrete, for instance the entrance floor and the kitchen- and bathroom work surfaces.
To build within a nature reserve, it is required to take a stand in regard to the inhabitation of the old forest; humbleness towards the forest despite the interference is necessary. A foundation high above the ground indicates the wish to leave the ground untouched, visually and conceptually. Casting a fireplace effectively states the necessity of making it possible to inhabit the place.
The architectural interpretation of the refugium has the intention to represent a habitation and workplace for the care and administration of the forest in forthcoming generations.