Multi-awarded architectural firm Powerhouse Company believes that great architecture and design must simply improve the quality of living. A perfect realization of this goal would have to be the ‘Village House’ in northern Sjælland, Denmark, which is a traditional summer cabin that offers enough space for modern lifestyle.
Description by Powerhouse Company:
The Village House is our exploration of the possibilities of the summer cabin, the traditional Danish vacation home. While keeping our cabin’s footprint small, in every sense, we have imbued it with a wide range of spatial possibilities, by using a five-fingered floor plan.
When we were first asked to design a holiday home in northern Sjælland in 2010, we couldn’t help but notice that ‘traditional’ Danish summerhouses had been increasing in size. They were becoming less and less distinguishable from the everyday homes that holidaymakers were leaving behind.
We set out to revive the scale of the classic cabin. Our finished building measures only 110m². The smaller size means low maintenance costs and ease of use. But at the same time, we wanted to create a flexible solution for a growing family, whose needs will change over time.
Our house is actually a cluster of five wings, like miniature cabins. These fan out like a hand spreading five fingers over the site, generating a variety of views, light effects and outdoor areas. The variation means the house provides an enjoyable environment all year round and at all times of day. For example, a large window above the living room allows sunlight to bathe the dining table at around midday.
Summerhouses are family spaces, but older children need more independence from their parents. Hence the ‘village of cabins’ organisation, with radiating individual spaces that are united in the centre. Each member of the family effectively has the option of privacy when they need it. Meanwhile a star-shaped central space, uniting the living room and kitchen, forms a shared area which nevertheless offers pockets of seclusion for spending time alone while still in the family circle.
The five-fingered design also had the advantage of creating the best views and indoor/outside spaces, while limiting the complexity of the structure and thus keeping the project within budget.
The solution faithfully reflects the rather different yet complementary desires of the family members. One wanted a picturesque, cosy and archetypal summerhouse, while another wanted a spacious and contemporary space. Both feelings are united in our design, which is typical of our work in that what prevails is not a pre-set style, or stylistic signature, but the living experience that the building provides.