Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Project: Malangen Retreat
Architects: Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur
Location: Tromsø, Norway
Year: 2017
Photographs by: Courtesy of Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur

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Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur

Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur have designed a stunning cabin on the Malangen peninsula.
The Malangen Retreat is a contemporary family vacation home for weekends and holidays. It is located about an hour’s drive south from Tromsø, Norway and is positioned on a ridge that rises from a fjord. The location of the site opens up stunning views overlooking a natural opening in the nearby forest.

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen peninsula is an hour´s drive south of Tromsø in Northern Norway. The site is positioned on a ridge rising from the fiord below and overlooks a natural opening in the forest.

The cabin is laid out east to west effectively shielding the opening in the forest, which is only discovered once you enter through the large oak sliding door from the outside couryard. The clients had a clear wish for enough space to welcome family and friends visiting. To gather at the family retreat for weekends or holidays is a beautiful tradition, but the challenge is often that given a few days you also long for some privacy again.

Therefore we planned a main part and an annexe separated by the central covered courtyard which is where you enter their retreat through the oak sliding door. As a response to the cold climate and challenging weather the central courtyard functions as a winter garden, with a fireplace and outdoor kitchen. From here the retreat opens up to the natural clearing in the forest and from here you enter into either the main building or the annexe.

Each group of rooms are done as separate segments or boxes to achieve an additional layer of privacy, but also to enhance the main room´s contact to the clearing in the forest and the contact to the outdoors in the transition spaces in between.

The main part and the annexe are composed of two boxes each, the annexe comprised of utility rooms and the relax area with a sauna directly exposed to the view outside in one box and the guest rooms and an activity room in the second. The main part with entrance, children´s room and a small secondary living room in the first box, the main bathroom and master bedroom in the second. A few steps lead down to the open space kitchen an living room set low in the terrain and overlooking the fiord and the afternoon sun to the west. A dedicated exit from the kitchen lead to the south-facing outdoor area where the family enjoy their dinners on warm summer days.

The boxes are all made in wood with the exterior cladding (both indoors and outdoors) in cedar panel which was treated with iron sulfate and kept outside for months before assembly to achieve an even patina regardless of being outdoors or indoors. The interior surfaces are mainly in knot free oak to achieve a warmer contrast to the outside of the boxes. The boxes are all slightly elevated in relation to the in-between spaces. All the in-between spaces have a concrete floor to emphasize that these spaces relate to the terrain and the outdoors in a different manner.

The ceilings in these spaces are all made of oak slats that through the treatment with iron sulfate turn naturally black because of the high content of tannin. The airy and black ceilings retreat from the visual connection to the outside, while contrasting the visually cold of the outdoors and providing a softer acoustics at the same time. The sauna is only separated from the outside by a large frameless glass, underlining the secluded privacy of the clearing in the forest, the interiors custom designed in cedar.

A major part of the interiors such as the dining table, dining bench, beds, wardrobes, the fireplace and sliding door in the wintergarden, etc, are custom designed by Stinessen.

Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

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Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

Malangen Retreat by Snorre Stinessen Arkitektur in Tromsø, Norway

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MA House by Cadaval & Solà-Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

Project: MA House
Architects: Cadaval & Solà-Morales
Location: Tepoztlan, Mexico
Area: 3,229 sq ft
Photographs by: Sandra Pereznieto

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MA House by Cadaval & Solà-Morales

Cadaval & Solà-Morales have designed the contemporary MA House in response to the lush nature that surrounds the site with vegetation, complemented by the comfortable temperatures all year long. Additionally, two neighboring mountains give this home located in Tepoztlan, Mexico a sight to behold.

The defining feature of this monolithic residence is its main construction material – stone. It was decided to use stone because it could be sourced locally, from the site itself. Additionally, it lowered the cost for maintenance.
The unique shape of the home influences the interior by filling it with natural light.

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

The commission of the house comes together with the explicit petition to use stone as the main construction material. The decision doesn’t respond necessarily to esthetic reasons but more likely to its common existence in the place, its little need for maintenance and its low cost for built square meter. Such premises are taken as a project challenge both in a structural, typological and esthetic way.

The MA house is set up in the outskirts of Tepoztlán, a small picturesque village of prehispanic origins, that has a colonial urban center. Located at 60 Km from Mexico City, Tepoztlán is well known for its sunny days, a comfortable temperature all year long, and its lush vegetation. Water is a key actor over the rainy season, time when nature demonstrates its intense vitality.

The project for the MA house responds to the search of a bright, wide and comfortable space built through a material that, at first, is hard and uncomfortable: the stone. With the presence of two major mountains on both sides of the plot, and two neighbors in the opposite direction, the house is a basic volumetric exercise: open the views and the main spaces to the mountains, and neglect the openings to the sides; and the definition of a central and open patio, a crack that defines the access of the house. However, this house doesn’t behave as a standard patio-house: typically, those are built through a central space around which all the relations and circulations take place; the MA house, meanwhile, develops all the circulations at its outer perimeter.

The house is a succession of spaces with differentiated uses that define the outer limit, a generic geometrical square. On top of such continuity of regular and perimeter circulations, the project overlays a second spatial strategy: the definition of a sequence of open and enclosed spaces; the exterior spaces -roofed patios-, intersect diagonally the volume and break with the rigidity of the perimeter performance.

The house is finally drawn as the addition of three pavilions unified by a unique roof, generating two covered patios; the roof is continuous, and rests on top of the structural stone walls that are the main asset of the house, the texture, a rough and imposing material that builds up the space, and reinforces the views and the power of nature. The house is a sequence of open and ever-changing relations with the nature; and always, as a backstage, the two immense mountains of Tepoztlán.

Cadaval & Solà-Morales

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

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MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

MA House by Cadaval & Solà Morales in Tepoztlan, Mexico

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