Residential Design

VOL1 2019

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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Nordic Tracks That's wise, given that his work requires patron-like support and confidence in the outcome. Not every client would want to underwrite the undulating roof structure of the Mazama House or the Venice House, for instance, but the ones who do gain a spatial experience like no other. Part of the payoff is in the quality of natural light (a precious commodity in the Pacific Northwest) and another is in the activation of form and materials—both inside and outside the house. "Roof structure offers enor- mous architectural potential," he says. "For starters, the roof is an aperture for light. If done correctly, bringing light in through a roof structure creates a lumi- nous interior environment. It brings in a soft light over wood surfaces that can make them really glow. "It can also be a way of transforming space and bringing in a sense of sequential drama to a room," he continues. "How people enter a room, how the eye unfolds and opens up the space—like making your hand into a fan shape—creates a sense of movement and surprise." Nils, a Norwegian American, has spent a great deal of time in Scandi- navia and is deeply influenced by its architecture and architects, in partic- ular Sverre Fehn of Oslo and Juhani Pallasmaa of Helsinki, both of whom he came to know well. This infusion of Nordic influences permeates how he sees buildings—their purpose and their possibilities. He avoids the typical modern architect's fondness for "skin condition" buildings, preferring to em- brace "sheltering gestures," as seen in the deep overhangs of the Port Ludlow House and Deschutes House. "If you have a skin condition, the transition from inside to outside is kind of brutal, like a knife—that line cutting you," he explains. "With roof over- hangs, you create shade, preserve the outside of the structure from the effects of weathering over time. And you have a gradation in transition from interior to exterior. A 5-or-6-foot overhang gives you a shaded zone, and a much calmer, subtler way to move outside." Scandinavians' love of craft is well- known and admired, and Nils thinks it derives from the long winter hours they spend inside their houses. It's vital that their interior world is warmly, richly detailed and constructed of high-qual- ity, long-lasting materials. It is not a "throwaway culture," he points out. It's a lesson he applies to his own work at all scales. Above and right: Finne Architects raised the bridge-like Mazama House to better capture views and hoist it above the winter snowpack. The undulating roof permits light penetration while also activating the interior structure. Above: The recently completed Venice House creates an oasis in a dense neighborhood. Its hyperbolic paraboloid roof adds drama to exterior and interior spaces. Photo: Benjamin Benschneider Photo: Benjamin Benschneider Photo: Tom Bonner 19 VOL. 1, 2019 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM

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