A two-family wooden house from the 1950's was to be rebuilt as a one-family house. The house is located in a silent residential neighbourhood in the outskirts of Oslo. The rather flat site had a garden facing east and west. Except from the accommodation of the new program, the house had several weaknesses, both technically and architecturally. The outer walls were poorly insulated. Surfaces inside and outside were worn out. The house had from the beginning a vague construction, and later additions and changes had obscured the structure even more. The organisation of the spaces made it difficult to appreciate the garden and the daylight.

While the floor slabs and outside walls were kept, a new primary construction was inserted using steel posts and beams of 140x140mm H-profiles. This "prosthesis" made it possible to remove all interior walls, and make a new staircase in the middle of the house. A number of small additions and outgrowths were taken away, and a new terrace and balconies were built towards east and west. The existing windows were opened up from floor to ceiling.

The exterior has a siding of untreated aspen wood that will take on a grey colour. The roof is covered with corrugated steel plates. In the interior are mainly used panels of pine and birch plywood, but also painted surfaces and tiles. There are new floors of oak and pine. The wooden surfaces are natural or prepared with oil or lacquer, depending on the use and strain. The steel structure is treated with oil.

In the beginning of the design of such an extensive renovation I asked myself, of course, what would I have done if I could have started from scratch? Which qualities will now be impossible to achieve? But after a while these questions got less important. I began to appreciate all the limits, as solutions I could never conceived by own hand. It was fascinating to work with the presumably insensitive section, where the main floor was high above the garden, and the entrance half way sunken into the ground. Now I think the depressed entrance makes an interesting approach to the house, and the living floor has a nice view over the flat garden.


Erik Stensrud og Ingunn Myrtveit

Architect: Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk


Christine Petersen
Gyda Drage Kleiva
Haavard Iversen

Structural consultant: Siv.ing. Terje Orlien
Contractors: Building: Øyli bygg by Petter Lien
Furniture: Aagaards snekkerverksted as
Photos: C-V. Hølmebakk

Rebuilt House
Røa, Oslo. 2005







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