One Architecture Firm Found A Stunning Way To Merge The 1950s With The Modern Day

The saying ‘out with the old and in with the new’ doesn’t take into the account the beauty, and emotion, attached to the former. But, architecture firm, Rever & Drage, did take this into account when they were commissioned to build a new family home in Norway.

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“The old family cabin (from the 1950s) was in a bad condition and demolished,” lead architect, Tom Auger, told us. However they kept the existing annex and rebuilt the cabin as a modern addition. The result is a striking mixture of the old and new, of the man made and natural materials, a haven looking out over the fjord and ocean from the hillside.

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The design caters from old and new in a different way too – it’s open spaces coupled with private areas allows for the family to come together while also giving them an individual place to hide away in. The gabled roof makes the communal space airy and bright, the floor to ceiling windows offering stunning vistas over the water.

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We caught up with architect Tom to discuss traditional vs contemporary design.

The Plus: How did this project come about? What was the brief?
Tom Auger:
A somewhat unusual stating point for a project:  The old family cabin (from the 1950s) was in bad condition and was demolished, but the client wanted to keep the existing annex (which was built some years ago) and make the cabin a part of that.
The 1950s pool was also refurbished. The brief from the client was that openness and the view was essential. The duality between the sea view one the one side and the forest on the other was also important. 

TP: How did you balance the traditional building with modern aspects?
TA:
The old building had a long history as a holiday house, almost 70 years and three to four generations of the family. So it was natural to incorporate some of the old building in the new building such as its main form and the cabled roof.
We also chose to use some of the same materials from the annex. By doing that we upgraded the the annex to be part of the new and made it more timeless/lasting. The modern element is represented by the added modules dominated by flat roof.

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TP: What are the specifications of the property?
TA:
The site is located on a hill side towards the fjord and ocean.

TP: What materials did you use and why?
TA:
As mentioned we used some of the same materials from the existing annex. Shingles / shavings are effective against driving rain (combination of rain and wind which can be brutal here).
In the entrance there is much more ambiguous. Clearly leading entrance with road and volume assembly, but shingles which represents the friendliness and clear entrance. Norwegian’s ambivalence to socialize and get visits.
The concrete inside and plywood sheets are clean design preferences of the customer, at the same time the concrete bath and fireplace function as thermal mass that can store energy absorbed from the sun and release it  over time.

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TP: How long did it take to build?
TA:
It took about a year to complete.

TP: What was the biggest challenge you came across while building or designing?
TA:
The strong wind conditions. We had to make both strong and flexible construction to the modules and the glas roof due to the weather conditions in the area.

TP: Sum up the building in 3 words. 
TA:
History. Traditional/modern. Openness

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Project name: Cabin Straumsnes
Architects: Rever & Drage Architects
Design team: Tom Auger, Martin Beverfjord, Eirik Lilledrange
Location: Straumsnes, Tingvoll, Norway
Area: 135 sqm
Photo: Tom Auger