in älgö, sweden, overlooking the stockholm archipelago, petra gipp arkitektur has constructed a box-like house whose various compartments are connected and anchored by a single concrete wall. the wall, which becomes the conceptual ‘spine’ of the building, acts as a through-line from where the entrance to the property begins to where it overlooks the dramatic views of the surrounding swedish countryside.  

the concrete wall becomes the conceptual spine of the building
all images by åke e son lindman



called ‘örnberget – spine/precipice’, the narrow site of the house sits high on a rock face, overlooking the archipelago to the south. the home is approached from the north, where a generous staircase leads visitors down the steep south-facing slope. one side of the stair is bracketed by a wooden volume, while the other is enclosed by a concrete wall. punctuated by a number of strategic gaps, the wall both directs the viewers gaze toward the archipelago and guides them down to the house, where it eventually merges with the walls of the home itself. here, another gap presents the entrance to the structure, and guides visitors through and across it, toward the garden. 

the site is bordered on either side by pine forest



continuing as the backbone of the complex, the concrete wall curls around to create the bathroom, storage place, and fireplace. the various other rooms of the house act as floating wooden extensions, anchored to the main ‘trunk’. petra gipp arkitektur conceived of these wooden additions as becoming light-filled, rustic promontories into their natural surroundings. large, recessed windows fill the interior spaces with light, while the timber used to cover the exteriors helps to integrate the structure with its environment. at the same time, the definition of the exposed wood against the ivory colored concrete makes for a pleasing, contemporary contrast in the rural surround. 

gaps in the wall direct visitors towards the house and provides glimpses of the garden beyond



this relationship between timber and concrete continues throughout the interior, where the initial ‘backbone’ wall continues to articulate the various spatial programs of kitchen, living and dining areas. each of the ‘wooden’ rooms reaches upward through a skylight: the clear, glass aperture exaggerating the deep-set ceilings. in the living room, floor to ceiling windows comprise two complete walls of the home, and provide access to the garden and its extensive views. the adjacent kitchen is elevated slightly, outlining it as a separate space without isolating it from its neighboring rooms. 

these wooden additions become light-filled, rustic promontories into their natural surroundings

the definition of the exposed wood against the ivory colored concrete makes for a pleasing, contemporary contrast

each of the wooden rooms reaches upwards through a skylight

the living room is defined by floor to ceiling windows, which provide stunning views and access to the garden

the kitchen is elevated from its neighboring rooms, outlining the space without isolating it

the site is oriented toward the stockholm archipelago







project info:


project title: örnberget – spine/precipice (örnberget – ryggrad/brant)
architect: petra gipp arkitektur – petra gipp, malin heyman, marco nathansohn and maria cagnoli
location: älgö, stockholm archipelago
structural engineer: astadien – johan sandström
landscape architect: horn.uggla – maria horn
project year: 2013-2015

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