Concrete House by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk

Designed in 2014 by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk, this concrete single family residence is situated in Hamar, Norway.

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Description by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk

The site lies adjacent to the shore of Mjøsa, with a north-western view of the large lake extending to Hamar and Domkirkeodden. Although the grand view played an important role in the design, the façade is not fully glazed, but rather “masked out” with varying openings located in relation to interior spaces and their intended use. The clients being fond of art, there was a desire for enough wall surfaces to hang pictures, and we were fascinated by the idea of the view acting as framed images, with motifs changing with weather and season and as you move through the house.

The budget, which in the beginning was quite generous, allowed for solutions and principles one normally finds hard to use: Stairs need not be placed above each other, rooms could span two floors, and openings for daylight and views could be tailored to the different specific uses within the house. The load bearing in-situ cast concrete also allowed for compelling constructions both in the exterior and the interior, enabling cantilevering of staircases, roofing, terraces, galleries, etc. We wanted to achieve the kind of labyrinth-like qualities you sometimes find in old estate houses; the kind where children can explore the many staircases, rooms and hallways, and where there is enough space for teeming life to unfold.

All living areas and bedrooms face the view, and are distributed over three floors. Secondary functions, such as bathrooms, lavatories, laundry rooms, etc., are located in the rear end of the house, where the façade is relatively closed. Several west facing terraces protrude from the building, furthering the living spaces’ contact with the water and the view. Exterior and interior staircases connect the different floors and different areas of the house. This adds to a visually complex pattern of movement within a rationally executed spatial organization.

This really quite large single family house started up with big ambitions and an almost limitless budget. Throughout the planning and building period, the economic assumptions changed, and priorities became necessary. The house has gone through a lengthy building process since work began in 2008. Some outdoor area and interior work still remain.

Photography by Nils Petter Dale, halvard, Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk

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- by Matt Watts