Perched on the banks of an idyllic Swedish archipelago near Norrköping is Villa Arkö, designed by local practice Marge Arkitekter. At first glance the house resembles its more traditionally styled neighbours, but the architects gave its archetypal shape a modern twist. The steeply pitched roof, stepped volumes and sharp lines of the abode mimics the rocky terrain slanting down towards the water. The addition of a long veranda and assorted terraces creates a relaxed yet dynamic living space, pitching the villa as the perfect holiday home.
'The client wanted a house that made the most out of its beautiful setting and views of the sea,' explains Marge architect Frida Bengtsson. 'As the weather and season change often in Sweden, it was important to devise different kinds of outdoor places, as well as create a pleasant indoor climate with natural ventilation. The client was also interested in applying a Japanese touch, therefore we used only natural materials, designed different layers of indoor and outdoor areas and introduced sliding solar protection.'
A glass edifice with green sedum roofing protrudes from the main part of the house, extending the ground level to include a sweeping view of the island's edge. The rectangular extension lends itself well to the social functions of the ground floor, which includes an open kitchen, guest room and lounge all arranged around a central brick fireplace. Terraces fill the spaces between and around the two structures, forming breezy outdoor areas that sink into the slope.
Meanwhile, the high, slanted ceilings enclose the more private spaces on the second floor. Bedrooms are arranged on either side of a seating and office area, where a ladder leads up to a bright, cosy loft above the bathroom. Light seeps into the loft through an opening on the roof.
A voluminous interior allows the air to circulate, while thick slatted sliding doors provide additional shade and large skylights can be opened to cool down the interior further during the summer months. The materials used mirror the natural tones of the surrounding cliffs, with terraces decked in ash and oak-lined floors in the living spaces. The cedar wood facade will fade with age, eventually blending in with the pale grey roof.