Tham Videgard Barn House

A Red Modern Scandinavian House in Sweden

If you are trying to decide on a look for your barndominium, you might consider modern Scandinavian style. One house that beautifully exhibits this style is House Karlsson, located at Lake Mälaren in Sweden. The home is the work of the architectural firm Tham & Videgård.

Tham & Videgård: Structures Built to Last

Before we showcase the house, let’s talk a bit more about the architectural firm that constructed it.

Tham & Videgård is based in Stockholm, and has produced a number of award-winning designs.

Longevity is a major focus at the firm. Here is what Tham & Videgård has to say about its design principles:

“Architecture is about the future. A building stands for hundreds of years, so inevitably it is not only contemporary but also a form of continued history projected into the future.  Seen from this perspective, all the ordinary circumstances affecting the conception of a new building or a new urban environment, are secondary to the lasting impact and quality of the construction: its long term environmental effect, its architectural integrity and function, its capacity to convey the ideas and ideals of society. The end result is the only thing that matters.”

House Karlsson

An older couple commissioned Tham & Videgård to build a home for them which would be large enough that they could have their children or friends over. The location where the house is situated used to be a recreational zone. The design of the home is based on traditional Swedish barns and warehouses.

The architect says the home consists of “a complete living floor at entrance level, and an upper floor that is only partly finished representing a future possible extension within the house.”

One of the constraints that the firm needed to meet was the couple’s budget, which was limited. House Karlsson was constructed for around 30-50% less than the average cost that might be expected for a similar structure. The firm achieved this budget by relying on standard building components.

The home’s exterior features red siding. This material is actually slow-grown pine with a red tar treatment. Tham & Videgård explain this is “a way of reinterpreting the technique of wooden roofs that has been in use for centuries in Scandinavia, mostly in the north and on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.” So, while this is a modern Scandinavian house, it has traditional influences.

The vertical lines of the cladding on the sides continue up the slopes of the roof. An interesting and distinctive feature is the set of brise-de-soleil shutters that can be raised or lowered over the windows. These match the siding and roofing material, but feature horizontal lines instead of vertical lines. They create pleasing patterns of shadow and light.

What is the interior of the house like? The windows and skylights bring plenty of sunlight into the home from all directions, making for an airy living space. As to the placement of the windows, at a glance, it may appear somewhat random. But this is not the case at all. As the architect explains, “Windows are placed to further enhance the difference of the interior spaces by alternating directing views low toward the garden, far towards the lake and the horizon, or high up at the trees and the sky above.”

With the hardy materials that firm chose for construction and the new-yet-old style elements woven into the structure, we expect that House Karlsson will stand proudly for many, many years to come, just as Tham & Videgård intends.

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