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Ström gets go-ahead for Swedish island home

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Hampshire-based Ström Architects has won permission for this 475m² home in a secluded bay in the Stockholm archipelago

The ‘contemporary family home’ on the island of Lidingö, north-east of the Swedish capital, will replace an existing property on the site and is expected to start on site this autumn.

The house and its pool will be heated by a ground source heat pump using boreholes which will also provide cooling in the summer.

The practice is working on another two homes in Sweden and, on the back of these projects, hopes to ’secure more work over there’ (see comments on Brexit bottom).

Section

Architect’s view

The client was recommended to approach us after having had two unsuccessful sketch schemes done by local Swedish architects. We were asked to design a replacement house on this beautiful site in the Swedish archipelago, just a 15-minute drive to the centre of Stockholm. Located in a secluded bay, the site is accessed from the east, with the ground sloping down to the sea in the west.

Strict local planning regulations dictate that a maximum of 20 per cent of the site can be built upon, setting the maximum gross external buildable area, including all overhangs but not balconies 3m above ground, and set limits on the number of storeys, the maximum height of the building, as well as the maximum roof pitch. Consequently designs in the area are quite boxy to maximise the built area within these tight constrictions. Unlike the British planning system, where many other factors contribute to the granting of planning permission, as long as proposals comply with volumetric and siting rules, planning should be granted. As in the UK, permitted development rights allow a garage to be added following approval of the scheme.

Our brief was to design a contemporary family home with a real connection to the outside and to the water. To achieve this, we worked with the sloping site to best arrange the internal spaces to relate to the external areas and level changes. The entrance will be on road level (which will be the ground floor), and this floor will comprise living, kitchen and dining areas. These form an ‘L’ shaped volume and will spill out onto a large terrace for a great inside/outside connection. The splayed footprint gives maximum privacy from neighbours, as well as creating a private area for enjoying the best views, facing north-west.

The first floor will contain two children’s bedrooms, a family snug and master bedroom suite. The master suite will also have a large terrace overlooking the water.

Due to the slope of the site, the basement will only be partially underground. Spaces such as the utility, storage and plant room will be located in the rear and to the front there will be a spa suite with a sauna, yoga studio and gym. These spaces will benefit from the beautiful views, and there will be access to the outside and down to the water.

We are currently progressing the technical design along with Swedish consultants. The proposed house will be built out of composite concrete blocks with a layer of sandwiched insulation in the middle. These blocks will then simply be rendered on both sides, in and outside. The floors are poured concrete on metal decks. There will be large glazed areas at the rear and timber sliding screens will provide privacy and shading when required.

Project data

Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Type of project: Private house
Client: Undisclosed
Architect: Ström Architects
Structural engineer: BKKAB
M&E consultant: ICEE AB
Main contractor: TBC
Funding: Private
Tender date: On-going
Start on site date: September/October 2016
Completion date: TBC
Contract duration: 10-12 months
Gross internal floor area: 475m²
Form of contract and/or procurement: Traditional
Total cost: Undisclosed

Plan

Ström Architects founder Magnus Ström on Brexit and working outside the UK

At first I couldn’t possibly imagine that Britain would vote to leave the EU. Nor, as one of the ‘European immigrants’, was I allowed to vote, although I have lived in the UK for more than 20 years. Therefore the whole Brexit issue is very close to my heart and I personally think the referendum result was the wrong one. But we are where we are.

The practice hasn’t directly felt any impact (although my house sale fell through within the week of the rerefendum) but, working almost entirely in the private residential sector, I do think that people will hold back before investing in either a new build or a big remodelling or extension, so I expect this will trickle down to small practices with time.

When we were approached to design this house in Stockholm six months ago, Brexit wasn’t on my mind at all. As a practice with a heavy emphasis on the private residential sector, we are now more greatful than ever for the opportunity to work in Sweden, and we see this as an opportunity to diversify and complement our work in the UK. We are currently working on another two houses in Sweden and we are hoping to build on our current commissions and secure more work over there.

At the moment no one knows what is going to happen, but I definitely see a possibility of opening an office in Stockholm, which perhaps will make it easier to access projects in Europe.

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