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Summerhouse Reilstad
house in house in landscape
Reilstad, Norway


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.

Project team Siv Helene Stangeland, Reinhard Kropf, Peter Feltendal,
Håkon Solheim and Dag Strass.
Timber engineering: Creation Holz; Hermann Blümer

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Helen & Hard Stavanger

Erfjordgata 8,
4014 Stavanger, Norway

+47 40 64 06 72
Helen & Hard Oslo

Stortingsgata 12,
0161 Oslo, Norway

+47 93 01 07 37