2016 Residential Architect Design Awards
Custom House More Than 3,000 Square Feet: Honorable Mention
The 3,300-square-foot Troll Hus in Norden, Calif., draws inspiration from alpine chalets and local predilections toward indoor-outdoor living. Mork Ulnes Architects raised the two-floor, pine-tarred wood-clad house a story above ground on concrete piers to account for extreme snowfall, which has exceeded 800 inches in a single season. Generous decks provide all the living spaces with adjacent outdoor areas; overhangs harness winter light while shading the interiors from summer sun. The top level’s open plan encompasses the kitchen, living, and dining areas under vaulted ceilings capped by skylights that harvest as much scarce winter sun as possible to light the clean-lined interior.
Project DescriptionFROM AIA SAN FRANCISCO:
Trollhus is a 3,300-square-foot single-family residence in Norden, California driven both by the extreme environmental conditions found at a 6,800 foot elevation and a California sensibility of generous indoor-outdoor living. Based on the alpine chalet building type, the house is lifted from the ground on concrete legs to protect it from snow in excess of 800 inches a year. The building’s orientation shields it from prevailing winds while allowing living spaces to open onto glazed south-facing balconies, maximizing solar exposure in the winter and shading the interior in the summer. The main living space at the upper level has an open plan configuration below two vaulted ceilings capped with skylights, demarcating two smaller spaces more akin in scale to an alpine cabin. The building is clad in pine tar-treated wood—the same natural, robust cladding found on 1000 year old Norwegian churches—which allows the Trollhus to recede within the canopy of the surrounding pines.