When I was in Sweden some years ago to help young Swedish design studio Folkform with their project of the furniture decorating with the raw natural source pattern such as flowers or butterflies, I enjoyed many wood style adventures there. But this one was most interesting for me.
Finally, after the quite long time we have published here some pictures of these two unique houses built by one of the most prominent Swedish architects, Ralph Erskine (1914 - 2005), whose early modernist career is connected with the wood very much.
Located at Drottningholm, calm housing area with the romantic sea bays, meadows and forests outside the Stockholm, hides two Erskine`s modernist gems which I have visited. Both were architect`s own houses designed and built between the years 1941 and 1963. Both villas are intimate examples of Erskine`s modernism and show architect`s creative and style development from early Scandinavian functionalism to his specific architectural language of the 1960s and 1970s.
The first house he designed for himself and his wife is called "The Box" and was built between 1941 and 1942. He constructed this little house himself with the aid of his wife and Danish architect Aage Rosenvold, who later worked in the Erskine`s office. Originally, the house, was built on a hillside in a wood at Lissma outside Stockholm. But in 1982, architect moved this small structure to Drottningholm, where he lived since 1946 and in 1963 he built there his second private house/studio.
So today, his first house we can find in the wood close to his second house located in the villa area of Drottningholm. "The Box" is the ascetic vision of living using traditional modernist typology of the strictly geometric box with the floor to ceiling windows and exterior wood panelling influenced by local traditional architecture. Today, the house with almost one room only sits in the middle of the forest and looks like fully inhabitable. Stacked prepared wood for heating and interior opened into the wood with the original furnishing invites for rigorous wood style living. Like a habitable sculpture, the house remains us great optimistic visions of the young architect. Strict functionalist principles meet romantic vision of the living in the wild life in this house.
His bigger, the second house, we find in the heart of Drottningholm next to some another modernist villas. It is much more bigger and is composed from two separate structures, one for living and the second for working as a studio. Both objects are situated in the wild open garden connected each other with small wooden bridges and steps. The house itself is constructed from prefabricated porous concrete panels that create nice visual pattern. From this panels is built whole body of the house including the inner vaulted roof with rounded corner. On this sits another roof made out of corrugated sheeting as good isolation. It is very nice example how Erskine worked with materials and combined them into the functional and unorthodox architectural compositions. The interior is arranged as a single room resembling barn with different volumes and lofts.
The both houses are great and quite unknown examples of the unconventional thinking of the architect who were always interested in the specific conditions and climate of the site. The first and the second Erskine`s houses are in this context excellent and very original buildings exceed the classic rules of the mid-century modernism.