Architecture on a Swedish Island
A 45-minute drive away, past a weathered windmill and fields of sheep fat with winter wool, Asa Myrdal Bratt has come from the mainland to meet me at her house. Built right on a rarely traveled road, it seems to rise from an empty field like a giant charred barn after a merciless prairie fire. That is precisely the effect that Stockholm-based architect Jens Enflo was seeking when his firm built it in collaboration with Deve Architects several years ago: “I wanted it to seem as though the land was just growing all the way through it,” the 42-year-old Enflo says. Clad in nearly black stained pine, a hue virtually unseen on Gotland and one that suggests shou sugi ban, the ancient Japanese burnt-timber treatment, the structure plays with proportion and transparency in a painterly way, contrasting against the flat, tree-void site. Almost 80 feet long but just under 15 feet wide, with a peaked 22-foot ceiling and a single lofted bedroom, the house’s front and back walls are partially glass, as are most of its interior walls; the central area between the living room and the small guest wing holds a covered courtyard, completing the illusion of a raw, skeletal frame. Myrdal Bratt — a brand consultant in her 50s, who, with her husband, a doctor, bought the house in 2014 — says that the place is warm, even cozy, despite its openness; from the outside, it appears provocatively barren, a stripped-down interpretation of the working livestock barns that you can see in the distance.
From “A Low-Key Swedish Island’s Shockingly Modern Architecture” by Nancy Has for New York Times Style Magazine; Photo by Michael Olsson
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