Johan Sundberg mixes Swedish and Japanese influences in Sommarhus T
‘Typology-wise, we wanted to move out of our comfort zone,’ says the Lund-based architect Johan Sundberg of the summer home he built for his clients, a young family of four. ‘We wanted to see where the Japanese courtyard house would take us if we used simple Swedish carpentry and techniques.’
The result is, on every front, a beguiling hybrid, where the parts easily reveal their provenance, but the sum of those parts is what Sundberg describes as, tongue firmly in cheek, ‘probably sacrilegious’.
Set in Ljunghusen, a bucolic swathe of pine and dunes in south-west Sweden much favoured by locals for building their summer homes, Sommarhus T – with its timber frame clad with Siberian larch, and the interiors lined with sweet spruce – is a careful study in functionality and form.
For starters, the plan is dictated by the letter T, a conscious decision by Sundberg to deviate from the quotidian L-shaped home usually favoured by Swedish and Danish mid-century design canons.
‘I always start with the site, the natural elements around it, my understanding of the dynamics of the family, and the atmosphere we want to create for them,’ Sundberg explains. ‘Here, we laid out the rooms, the sightlines, the structure, and the materials around the T-shape to create a series of spaces and moods.’
Taking into account the path of the summer sun, the T-form yields, in effect, two courtyards, one in the east, which contains bedrooms and living spaces, and one in the west, which holds a garden and the parents’ bedroom.
Wide eaves and verandas wrap around the house, providing year-round shelter, while a low pine forest shields the outdoor dining area from wind coming off the sea.
For Sundberg, Sommarhus T reflects his firm’s approach which is to create useful and beautiful spaces that are ‘partially integrated with each other, with a layering of different uses for different settings like dark and light, cold and hot weather. It’s a lot like creating a tapestry. I think we did OK.’ §