Noah’s House / Visiondivision

© . Photo by Clive Jenkins

Our friends from Visiondivision shared their latest summer house in Singö, with us.   The architects were limited to designing the small summer house within the confines of an existing shed because the site is exposed every tens years to the overflows of the Baltic Sea.   Constructed as a lizard’s tail, the house utilizes a pragmatic strategy where if one part of the building gets exposed to water, that part can easily be replaced without affecting the rest of the building.

More about the summer house after the break.

The new structure, although inside the old shed, requires its own independent structure.  The architects built as close as possible to the old structure, giving the floor plan a long niche along one of the walls for a battery of functions, such as a small kitchenette, a storage space and an expandable bunk bed.

Section © Visiondivision

Bearing in mind the affect the water would have on the materials, the architects opted for spruce boards and spruce pillars, which can be  taken away when exposed to water in order to dry.  Later, the pieces can simply be  put back or  replaced with new boards.   All electric parts of the house are placed in the higher regions of the house so as not to be affected by an extreme overflow.

© Visiondivision

The house is also equipped with a warning system to alert the client if the water levels begin reaching the construction underneath the floor.  The warning system became a rising totem pole where the face changes its mood depending on how high the water level has reached underneath the house.

© Visiondivision

“ The only change to the existing façade is the big window and a wooden terrace with a outhouse on it towards the see and a new entrance door, hardly exposing the building’s new function which gives a pleasant surprise for visitors,” explained the architects.

© Visiondivision. Photo by Clive Jenkins

Architects: Visiondivision

Location: Singö, Sweden

Project Team: Anders Berensson & Ulf Mejergren

Construction year: 2010


Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Noah’s House / Visiondivision" 18 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • isla

    guys, i understand the fact of expanding the limits of the posts, but come on, what the hell is this?!?

    • j

      i agree. archdaily dont lower your standards. this project really isnt much of an inspiration. I dont think you need an architect to design something of this quality. im not saying its bad….its just not what i expect to be posted

  • Lez

    Although the ‘warning system’ idea is quite fun, I struggle to see why this project is actually on Archdaily.

  • Chet

    a skilled carpenter can design and build this kind of stuff w/o the help of an architect, i don’t see any related architecture here.

  • DITO

    This project proves to me how uptight architecture and its followers are…by the comments received against it. Love the project! It is fun and inviting and not the least bit sterile. Nice

  • Joe Sun

    Nice mask, but this is ARCHdaily, remember?

  • Rufus

    Everything doesn’t need to be the Guggenheim, every project has their own limitations, and this is a nice example how to make something out of small means. Personally I think it is a quite smart project, with the overflow functions that is incorporated in the design.

  • Sandra

    The project has very little to do with a mask and very much to do with a low-tech concept of how to solve an overflow problematic in a fun and a pragmatic way, Thanks archdaily for publishing something smart!

  • van der vorst

    Nice to see a project that isn’t focused on aesthetics alone, which architecture so often seems to be about nowadays, and that actually has a concept behind it. Although this project seems to be shallow at first glance, it certainly has more depth and wit than most of the projects I’ve seen in a while.

    • mimir

      I totally agree. This project is for me really refreshing and consider it being one of the best posts in the last month. Saying this is not architecture and that the project shouldn’t be posted here is incredibly shallow. Architecture as such shouldn’t be just the pursuit of aesthetic beauty but i see it more as some sort of social service. Build the thing that is needed where is needed. If possible don’t build at all, but reuse, repack and refurbish. There are 2 great quotes i think of every time i see such projects. The firs is of Cedric Price (the so called father of modern British architecture): “When a client comes to me saying he needs a new house I always ask him whether he shouldn’t change his wife instead.” And the second quote is from Lacaton Vassal, after the big success of Latapie house, they said that in their opinion “The best thing about this house is that it doesn’t look like it was designed by an architect”.

  • H. Roark

    Great little project, I really enjoy seeing projects like this.

  • Biljana

    just smile and wave,just smile and wave,hahahaha

  • zxv

    Its Patrick Swayze aka Bohdi. lol

    • Renny

      I loved that movie

  • Rob W.

    I think this is a great little project, its like a student project fun and simple. They had a problem with the building and they solved it, this is real architecture. The totem pole is functional with a comic twist.

  • GIFU


  • watanabe

    Better than anything I’ve seen recently on here.

  • hounddog

    Projects like these really questions the fundamentals of the trade and has the courage enough to avoid cheesy trends. Big up

  • Jason

    Very cool little project. The snobby posts above were expected, but still uncalled for. Great work!

  • Mies

    A totem pole surely causes a lot more debatt than white boxes, More of this AD!

  • T Maymon

    This project is.. GREAT!
    Please appreciate it – we get to have an intimate look into a self designed and built home. Most of the uptight Architects here will never get to (hands on) experience such a thing. (hallo – “archi”stiffy – pill yourself off the screen, try and build your own design without a keyboard, and you’ll appreciate this dude’s creation).

    This project is also very relevant in today’s slums / low income flooded despaired areas.

    Archidaily folks – keep on freestyling your daily palate!

  • Booh

    … I’m curious how much the project ended up costing- it looks great for what it is… but seriously… I am going to knock on the hawaiian fabric in the kitchenette … this was in Sweeden wasn’t it!

  • no awe

    I see alot of praise for how visiondivision “solved” the overflow problem on the site, but it seem like they only provided a uselessly-late warning system. Seriously, if the baltic sea is overflowing, chances are this guy is going to hear about it on the news many days (if not weeks) before his two foot totem starts to rear its uglier of faces.
    Also, if this guy actually does want to stick around until his wood pops up, do you think he’ll actually still be able to make a clean getaway? Unlikely.