Claesson Koivisto Rune reveals courtyard house in Sweden

A Swedish seaside home designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune in slim brick features multiple courtyards that make it a superbly secluded retreat

House of Many Courtyards
(Image credit: Claesson Koivisto)

The House of Many Courtyards in Sweden has a quietly monolithic presence, tucked in among the pine trees in the rolling dunes above a sandy beach. Claesson Koivisto Rune’s latest residential project is designed with the privacy of its occupants in mind, with a solid brick exterior that appears to have been fractured into a number of small pavilion-like structures. Only from within do you get the strong sense of space demanded by the brief.

The house takes the form of a long, linear box that has been ‘sliced up’, with each segment pushed and pulled off axis to create the nine courtyards that give it its name. By framing each courtyard with a wall of openable glazing, the interior maintains a connection with the sea and sky, but passers-by are unable to see deep into the plan.

Privacy is enhanced by the existing pine trees that are scattered across the site, shaping and framing the views from within and screening the house from both prying eyes and winter weather. When the sun shines, the courtyards can be opened up, transforming the interior. Claesson Koivisto Rune also designed the house to engage with its site through a series of south-facing stairs and terraces that open the views. These levels reduced the need to clear large areas of vegetation for construction and retain the up-and-down characteristics of this gently undulating landscape.

House of Many Courtyards overview

(Image credit: Claesson Koivisto)

The picturesque setting and the shifting levels distract from the utter simplicity of the plan, as do the varying heights of the ‘boxes’ that make up the structure. A simple main bedroom occupies the easternmost pavilion, from where the vista runs the full 40m length of the house, past the three reception rooms and down three levels to three smaller cell-like bedrooms and a small study to the west, each with their own courtyard.

The central part of the house contains the living, kitchen and dining area, focused on a courtyard and reflecting pool on the north façade, with two small terraces opening up to the grand steps and swimming pool to the south.

Handmade Petersen Kolumba bricks are used throughout, colour-matched to the local beach sand, alongside hardwood ceilings and limestone floors and terraces. The shape of the bricks – long and flat – is echoed in the patterns of floors and ceilings. Claesson Koivisto Rune says that the colour and geometry of the house ‘form an abstraction very true to the surrounding nature and topography’. 

House of Many Courtyards exterior

(Image credit: Claesson Koivisto)

House of Many Courtyards dining

(Image credit: Claesson Koivisto)

House of Many Courtyards garden and pool

(Image credit: Claesson Koivisto)

House of Many Courtyards view out

(Image credit: Claesson Koivisto)

House of Many Courtyards interior

(Image credit: Claesson Koivisto)


Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.