Aluminum House by UNIT arkitektur ab
by Yvan / October 22, 2010


The owners of a home in Alingsås Sweden sought to renovate and add some unique elements that would require little or no maintenance.



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Architects at UNIT opted for aluminum for the extension.


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Subcontractors for Volvo and Saab laser cut the sheets (including the plant motif on the gables) according to the architects' drawings. Anodized aluminum was used in this project and it was chemically oxidized in order to produce a pleasing texture and a durability that is estimated to be 100 years.


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The addition houses a new living room.


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View of the new living room from the kitchen.

From the architects, UNIT arkitektur ab:

Around the lake Gärdsken, in the southern parts of Alingsås, a residential area with villas mainly from the 20th century is situated. Originally, these were small wooden two storey houses with a basement in stone and vernacular detailing. Nowadays however, almost every single house is rebuilt and enlarged beyond recognition. The owners of one of the few houses left intact wanted more space as well as renovating the existing house. The first sketches were made in 2005 although the construction did not start until late in 2008 because of the overheated construction market.

There is a well-developed grammar in Swedish building culture on how to extend a house with a traditional gable roof; usually a ridge is established at right angles to the existing one. To be successful this requires that the extension is subordinate in size. The possibility to build in a completely traditional style was tested in a sketch, but was found too obtrusive because of the size. The new wing "devoured" the old house. Thus we chose instead to aim for maximum contrast in expression.

On the eastern part of the plot is a beautiful old stand of trees. The proposed movement in this project follows the principle often used in Japanese garden art; first you spot the main vista (the orchard), then it disappears out of view - but is not forgotten. In the third step of the sequence the viewer stands before the garden again. A large custom made shelf is the element that obscures the garden in the second step and forms a filter between the hallway and the living room with its view of the garden.

A new corridor and entrance is introduced between the new building and the existing house. From this corridor almost all the rooms of the house can be reached and it can also provide a more representative entrance to the living room when necessary. The new living room has a maximum of openness towards the garden, but is closed to the street to ensure privacy. At the same time, the city planning office required window openings in this facade to lighten up the impression from the street. The solution was to shape the aluminium sheets of the facade as a trellis for growing vines. It always takes time for the vines to establish, therefore we have designed a pattern that brings a lifelike quality to the facade in the absence of greenery. The laser cut pattern is inspired by vines and forms a favorable shape for the tendrils to climb on.

The house is founded on masonry walls. The bottom floor is constructed of 220mm beams while the roof is supported by glulam beams. As the facade material was chosen 3 mm anodized aluminium plates applied with stainless recessed screws on an adjustable framework of galvanized steel profiles. All sheets are prefabricated at the workshop. The extension is heated with floor heating.


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