The first in our Christmas collection of 'Northern lights', inspiring nuggets of architecture in wintry settings, combines warmth and the outdoors in a cosy bath house
The village of Knausen in Norway’s Nord-Trondelag, is a remote place about 350 miles due north of Oslo and sits at the same latitude as Iceland. Needless to say, it appreciates its warm spaces. At the other end of the country, 60 miles south of Oslo, Frederikstad-based young practice Handegård Arkitektur was commissioned by a private client to build a bath house here on the lake-shore of the Store Brekkvatnet.
Projecting into the lake by sitting on granite columns that rise out from the water, the bath house appears initially as a traditional Norwegian boathouse, with its red-painted cladding and tin roof. But look closer and the traditional design subverts into something altogether different.
Architect Espen Handegård says he was mindful of the small building’s context. This was done, he says, by ‘working with the building as a volume with scarce details.’ It accounts for his decision to treat all the surfaces and materials with the same red paint, while inside, walls and ceilings are treated with the same solid timber finish, replacing the usual studwork with a thicker, red-painted wooden cladding structure set at 45 degrees that hides clever, slim acrylic viewing fins.
Angled as these fins are, looking at the exterior, the structure appears ‘closed’ from the side but on entering reveals the conceit of a majestic view of the lake before you. Handegård feels that doing so allows the building to both shelter and expose the viewer – both very real concerns for a bath house!
Espen Handegård with Jan-Carlos Kucharek