Even warmth comes second to space in Hølmebakk Architects’ extension for a family whose brief included a need for incremental self-built improvements to their home over time
Brønnøysund is a small, coastal village in Nordland on Norway’s western coast, mid-way between Oslo and the northern city of Tromsø. Perhaps in this clime, it’s warmth that would be the priority, but for a local couple with a growing family, their clear need was for extra space at minimal cost. Interested in design, they asked Hølmebakk Architects how they could expand their single- storey, 1960s home on the basis that anything proposed would have to be self-built over time. The result looks as if a spaceship has landed on the house.
Hølmebakk ‘s proposal was to replace the existing cold attic with a new, semi-climatised space by creating a shed-like form. The design was for an entirely independent structure of glulam trusses on columns, to provide a high degree of flexibility. The theory is that the entire house below can be altered or replaced incrementally over time, while maintaining a basic degree of shelter.
For now, the clients are hard at work inhabiting the semi-climatised loft and creating sub-areas with varying degrees of climatisation, while integrating the space more closely with the existing house. This compartmentalisation is also a conscious means of keeping the home’s operational costs low.
Architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk called facilitating the practice’s open-minded client’s dream ‘an extremely rewarding privilege,’ adding ‘the architect’s role was important, not only to make sure an unconventional building met regulations, but to discover new potential in an already established situation.’
Hølmebakk Arkitektkontor with Jan-Carlos Kucharek