'The aim with this project was to maximise the views towards the north and the sun from the south, balancing this with the challenges of a very steep north-facing site,' says Vidar Knutsen from Element Arkitekter of the aptly named Northface House.

Located in Norway’s Stavanger, it is the practice’s latest residential offering. The family home covers 277 sqm, is clad externally with Kebony wood and is a sustainably designed, wooden construction. 'There was an existing building on site, exactly like the current neighbouring one, that was demolished – they were twin structures,' says the architect. 'The old foundations were re-used for the new one.'

Not only were the existing foundations reused but some of the old walls too, while the two lower levels were carefully restored for the new building. The top level, however, was completely removed and replaced with a lighter and more open structure.

The interior is beautifully enhanced by the smooth continuous Dinesen wood flooring and includes a spacious open plan living, dining and kitchen area at the top, while the more private areas are nestled in the house’s lower levels. The views from Northface House’s top floor are breathtaking, as the site overlooks the famous Byfjorden fjord. The fact that the house’s upper volume was pulled back from the road to make space for a sun deck encourages even more sunlight into the house, at the same time as partly protecting the terrace from wind.