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Nordic Light / D/O

  • 12:00 - 23 November, 2015
Nordic Light / D/O
Nordic Light / D/O, © Chad Holder
© Chad Holder

© Chad Holder © Chad Holder © Chad Holder © Chad Holder + 23

  • Architects

  • Location

    Saint Paul, United States
  • Design Team

    John Dwyer AIA, Colin Oglesbay Assoc. AIA, Edward Eichten Assoc. AIA
  • Area

    1750.0 ft2
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

  • Structural Engineer

    Safe Haven
  • General Contractor

    Brownsmith Restoration
  • Landscape Contractor

    Terra Vista
  • More Specs Less Specs
© Chad Holder
© Chad Holder

Text description provided by the architects. Ljos

We live in a climate which varies annually varying from arctic to tropical. And our scarcity of light in winter contrasts with its abundance in summer.  Its distinct nature at our latitude was articulated in the Norse languages with as many variations as words for snow.  Ljos describes whiteness which becomes essential to our psychological survival as the world turns dark and blue.  Our home strives to capture light as our ancestors did.  The first two bounces, floor and ceiling, warm the blue to pure white.  All other elements maintain, reflect and diffuse the whiteness.

© Chad Holder
© Chad Holder


The oak, in our mythology, is Yggdrasil, a world tree.  It expresses beauty through strength and connects the sky to the terrestrial through its roots.  We set out to create a place which inhabits oak, preserved in material and living in the landscape.  Three existing oaks dictate its form and program.  Main living spaces point to the oak to the east.  Elevated indoor/outdoor living spaces reside in the canopy of those to the west.  Inside, white oak replaces the sky and land, stretches beyond the eye, and guides the body through space.

© Chad Holder
© Chad Holder
Floor Plan
Floor Plan
© Chad Holder
© Chad Holder


We live in a transition between The Great Plains to the west and the Great Lakes to the east.  This zone is dominated by the oak and aspen savannas amidst a mosaic of vegetation.  Our particular moment in this zone is the St. Paul-Baldwin Plains and Moraines subsection.  It is the prairie forest border of the Midwest.  Our response is not restorative, but ecological consistency.  While formalized, all species and their proportions are historically accurate to the land’s specific nature.  Tall grass prairie, moss, blue stone, and fescues live under groves of oak and aspen.  Edges are clear, but irregular and structures exist in, on, and aside the land.

© Chad Holder
© Chad Holder

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Cite: "Nordic Light / D/O" 23 Nov 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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