The idea of developing atrium houses in a very steep terrain came from a simple practical requirement; allowance for natural light and views in all the rooms in a very ambitious room program. Building two “twin houses” was the result of a strict zoning law allowing for only 14 meters long facades towards the fjord.


Completed 2010


Entreprenør 1

Project group:

Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter


Nordstrand, Oslo, Norway


275 m² + 340 m²  



The facade approach investigates Oslo's strong brick tradition from the 40s and 50s where brick walls were not meant to express load-bearing masonry, but were deliberately treated as a decorative cladding. The facade concept exacerbates that expression by wrapping the total volume of the house in brick, including all areas over contiguous fenestration and courtyard openings. The wall texture is achieved by laying 20% of the bricks perpendicular to the main masonry direction.

The atriums build up the identity of the project, although not fully visible from the outside, they are the main element in the overall spatial strategy. These patios perform as inside-outside interfaces that allow the building volumes to interlock with the steep terrain. They also create rooms with different degrees of exposure to foreground and background views, making the immediate landscape and the fiord beyond an integral component of the spatial experience.

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