Reilstad, Norway – Helen & Hard

Built Area: 340.0 m2
Year Built: 2018
Photographs: Sindre Ellingsen

Reilstad Summerhouse stands on one of the biggest islands in Ryfylke. It’s surrounded by typically breath-taking Norwegian landscape – of fjords, bedrock outcroppings, and sloping topography. Because of the steep plot, the house was designed with four different levels. Thus, it blends seamlessly with the landscape.

The design of Reilstad Summerhouse  reflects thoughtful consideration of the existing landscape.
The design of Reilstad Summerhouse reflects thoughtful consideration of the existing landscape.

The house is mostly built using concrete slab and timber. It has a folded, floating green roof that covers the entire structure with exposed wooden ridge beams underneath.

It’s a uniquely shaped house, with its exteriors exhibiting sharp angles and edges. Despite the challenges found on the site, the architects have managed to execute a design that truly works.

The interiors of the house enrich the beauty of the outdoors through the use of timber walls and flooring.
The interiors of the house enrich the beauty of the outdoors through the use of timber walls and flooring.

The inside of the house is covered with timber walls and flooring. Every surface shows texture and depth with a unique spatial rhythm, enriching the beauty of the outdoors.

While Reilstad Summerhouse is a visually stunning piece of architecture, what makes a mark is the environmentally sensitive approach of the design process. The house has such enormous respect for the landscape as it adapted to the steep site and made use of only natural materials.

Notes from the Architect:

Reilstad is on the island of Finnøy – one of the largest islands in Ryfylke. The island is characterized by its typical Norwegian fjord landscape. The steep plot lowers towards the sea with outcrops and visible bedrock. Towards the east, sheep graze among a small collection of oak trees.

There is a terracing of levels within the house – adapting to the steep landscape of the plot. Each level steps down towards the private quay.

Here one lives on four levels – and move through an inner landscape that is connected to the exterior landscape on every level. In this way the house is organically adapted to the unique context.

A floating roof covers the whole structure, only held by the façades and ridge beam. From the entrance on the highest level one gets an overview of the whole house and down to the quay. The large roof creates a generous common space where everything is shared. From here there are views in every direction. All other rooms open on to this room. Some rooms appear as furniture as their internal ceilings do not connect to the floating roof. Within this array of spaces there are quiet spaces, intimate spaces, areas for working out or watching TV.

The timber structure lies on a concrete slab. Cellulose fibre is used as insulation. Each surface has its own depth and texture with its own spatial rhythm that enhances the adjacent outdoor nature; the ash-wood flooring with its marked grain, the fan-shaped staircase, the room-furniture’s light and even ash finish with built-in shelving and niches, the timber battens between the long roof-beams in the ceiling.

Once entering the building the kitchen is to the right. The dining table follows, onto an adjoining terrace. To the left is the guest wing; three bedrooms with en suites.

Three steps down takes you to the living room with its own terrace. A fireplace is placed between the two levels. The main staircase guides you down towards the quay. The next level is the master suite with an office in addition to the bedroom and ensuite. From here there is a separate door taking you outdoors. Nearly at the bottom of the stairs you can walk out onto the lower terrace. To the left is the TV room and to the right – 3 steps down – is the exercise room with adjoining bathroom and sauna. At the back of the house on this level there are washing rooms and storage. Once outdoors a path takes you down to the quay. Here one can look back at the house. The roof slopes down with the terrain. This is a sensitive approach to the landscape – only using natural materials and adapting the form to the steepness of the site.

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Exterior Views:

Interior Views:

Drawing Views:

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