«Villa Fjeldhøi» is a private home in the area of Jar, just outside of the Norwegian capital Oslo. The property is situated on a ridge with bountiful sunlight from morning to evening, and a stunning view towards the Oslo-fjord. Older pine trees are characteristic of the site, giving the main living areas an experience of being perched amidst the treetops while overlooking Oslo and the fjord at a distance. The property is one of the oldest in the area, originally having been built with a “swiss style” house from 1912. The old house was in a very poor technical condition and the task of restoration seemed futile. It was consequently taken down, but the owners facilitated so parts were donated to owners of houses from the same period - thus ensuring reuse of some building parts such as doors, windows, hinges, and so forth.
The footprint of the new “Villa Fjeldhøi” on the ground floor coincides with the original house to the west and a former outdoor shed and henhouse towards the east. The second floor of the house spans over these two parts. The access road and driveway are maintained in their original position, only now with the second floor in a 12-meter free span above the driveway. This provides partially covered access over the driveway and entrance. Most importantly the scheme has made it possible to preserve much of the existing garden towards the west, and existing vegetation and trees that are characteristic of the site.
The architectural expression of the new “Villa Fjeldhøi” is contemporary and tailored to the specific situation. The roof slopes upwards from east to west, thus opening towards the main view, the evening sun, and garden. The sloping of the roof is also done to keep building heights down in consideration of surrounding neighbors to the east. Once a freestanding property, the area has become densified over the past 100 years and the property is now surrounded by homes. The different neighboring houses are however slightly diverged in plan and height, ensuring sun, view, and partial privacy for each property.
Towards the garden, there are partially covered outdoor terraces on both the ground floor and second floor, including an outdoor fireplace and an outdoor spiral staircase connecting the two floors also externally – always ensuring easy access from the interior to the exterior. The Oslo-area is located at 56 degrees latitude. Norway, therefore, has extreme contrasts between the summer and winter, in temperature and especially in terms of daylight. Working with daylight is therefore fundamental for us, as well as creating flexible connections between the interior and exterior. Thus, prolonging the possibility to stay outdoors, and creating a sense of interior spaces that are strongly connected and easily opened to the surroundings.
The main construction is timber framing, with some use of laminated timber and steel. The ground floor has polished concrete floors. The interiors of the living area have oak floors and a ceiling. The main stairway has a tactile, sculptural form, built in oak.