norwegian island house expressed with folded surfaces and rhythmic timber structure

norwegian island house expressed with folded surfaces and rhythmic timber structure

norwegian architecture practice helen & hard completes its ‘summerhouse reilstad’ atop the island of finnøy. the site is characterized by its typical fjord landscape, outcroppings of exposed bedrock, and a sloping topography descending to the sea. the house negotiates this topography through an organization of terraced levels, each stepping downward toward the private shore. these four levels generate an interior continuation of the landscape, and an organic adaptation of the unique context.

helen hard reilstad
all images by sindre ellingsen



helen & hard design the summerhouse reilstad with a folded, floating green roof which spans the whole structure through the use of exposed wooden ridge beams. upon entering at the uppermost level, the visitor enjoys a sweeping view over the length of the house together with the landscape leading down to the shoreline. the large, sculptural roof encloses a generous common space surrounded by views in each direction. private rooms are formalized as independent, partial-height volumes which interrupt this shared zone, generating platforms, furniture elements, and smaller, more intimate zones.

helen hard reilstad



each surface of the timber structure expresses its own depth, texture, and rhythm which serves to enhance that of its natural surroundings. such textural interiors are comprised of ash-wood flooring with its marked grain, the sculptural stair, the integrated, ambient lit furniture, shelving, and niches, and the rhythmic timber strips between the exposed ridge beams along the folded ceiling. the design team strived to choose a visually and environmentally sensitive approach with respect for the landscape — making use of only natural materials and adapting the form to the steep sloping site.

helen hard reilstad helen hard reilstad helen hard reilstad helen hard reilstad helen hard reilstad helen hard reilstad helen hard reilstad helen hard reilstad helen hard reilstad



project info:


project title: summerhouse reilstad — house in landscape

architecture: helen & hard

design team: siv helene stangeland, reinhard kropf, peter feltendal, håkon minnesjord solheim and dag strass

location: reilstad, norway

client: private

program: summer house

status: completed 2018

area: 350 square meters

photography: sindre ellingsen

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