The architect’s choice: A black shoebox in the forest

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A black wooden box in the forest floating on plinths over the landscape. In addition, with a view of the water thanks to the high position of the plot. The architect designed the house for himself and his family with the vision of allowing nature to be present, inside as well as outside. A vision that is embodied thanks to the large window sections that eat up almost the entire house facade. The windows look out onto a large wooden deck, with space for both rest and activity, embraced by the wild landscape. Marking the plot boundary and enclosing the archipelago house with the help of a fence was unthinkable for the family, so they let nature guide the construction instead of the other way around. I have never understood people who have such a great need to clean up and clearly mark out what is yours and mine”, says Ida Friis Tinning and continues: “I have always been in love with the Swedish nature and have, ever since I moved to Sweden seven years ago, dreaming of a house out in the Stockholm archipelago.” Architect Ida Friis. Photo: Jack MikrutIda Frii’s Temple was born and raised in central Copenhagen, where she also studied architecture at the School of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts. After graduating with a focus on digital fabrication and materiality, she got a job in the same field at a research center in Denmark, something that has led to a burning interest in creating new ways of using materials. The construction industry is one of the industries that in its transports emits the most carbon dioxide and Ida Friis Tinning therefore wants to contribute to making working methods more sustainable.Through the large window sections, the boundary between outside and inside is blurred.Through the large window sections, the boundary between outside and inside is blurred. Photo: Jack MikrutToday the interest is a side business. In 2016, she moved to Sweden and to an apartment in Stockholm’s inner city together with her partner. In the same vein, she took a job at what she calls a traditional architectural firm. “I thought it would be good to gain knowledge about building completely ordinary houses. I needed to learn that if I was then to be able to apply my research in practice. Therefore, it was an optimal combination to learn the theoretical basics during working hours and then come home and apply it to a project of my own in the evening.”Said and done. In early 2017, Ida Friis Tinning and her partner bought a plot of land on Stora Timrarö, an island in the Stockholm archipelago between the mainland and Ljusterö. The island, which is served by Waxholmsbolaget spring, summer and autumn, is known for being one of the few that has municipal water and its own treatment plant. When water was drawn on the mainland a kilometer away a little over ten years ago, a group of entrepreneurs, who then owned the majority of the plots on the island, took the opportunity to connect Stora Timrarö.The project, which kept four construction workers employed for a total of 3.5 months, was completed in 2018.The project, which kept four construction workers employed for a total of 3.5 months, was completed in 2018. Photo: Jack MikrutSomething that has proven be a clear advantage, especially when it comes to being able to use the houses even during colder seasons.”There is a lot of talk about a living archipelago and it is things like water and sewage that actually make it possible. It was one of the things that made us buy land on this particular island, we wanted to be able to use our holiday home as much as possible,” says Ida Friis Tinning. Open floor plan and plenty of space for many, both children and adults, were some of the guiding words she took with her when it came time to start designing what is today a 90 square meter house. The planning took about a year before the actual construction could start, in the spring of 2018. A project that kept four construction workers employed for a total of 3.5 months, before the house could be considered completed.Stora Timrarö is serviced by Waxholmsbolaget for most of the year, and near the site is a jetty for leisure boats.Stora Timrarö is serviced by Waxholmsbolaget for most of the year, and near the site is a jetty for leisure boats. Photo: Jack MikrutThe plot, which the couple bought by one of the contractors behind the municipal water, is a short distance from the jetty where you arrive via leisure boat. A fact that tested both patience and nerves when building materials and glass parts had to be transported to the site. “We moved out to the building in the meantime so we could always be close. The builders were so incredibly efficient that things happened all the time,” says Ida Friis Tinning and continues: “We pitched a tent where we lived, me, my partner and our then newborn son. We cared about the trip itself, so we made it very comfortable for us with an outdoor kitchen and other types of comfort. It actually turned out to be a wonderful summer.”Given the hilly and high site, Ida Friis Tinning and her partner chose to take responsibility for the logistics themselves, something that was made easier thanks to their constant presence on the island. Much would go wrong in terms of deliveries from the mainland as well as the actual transport up to the site. The worst was the anxiety surrounding the large glass partitions that characterize the house today.”Then I lay in the tent all day. I didn’t venture out to check how it was going.”The beds, along with several other details in the house, have been built by the couple themselves by using leftover materials.The beds, along with several other details in the house, were built by the couple themselves by using leftover material. Photo: Jack MikrutWell done, summer 2018, it was time to decorate the house. Much of the furniture, such as beds, moldings and all the sliding doors between the rooms, is built by the couple themselves. They have used leftover building materials to reduce wastage, a consequence of Ida Friis Tinning’s interest and research into material use. On the walls of the room, which thanks to the open floor plan is both living room and kitchen, hang own creations in cardboard created for the same purpose. The kitchen is Danish design by the brand Reform. The interior is a combination of recycled raw materials and luxury. At the same time, a lot is flea market finds, which I think adds a personal touch.”The kitchen, which through the open floor plan is connected to the living room, is of Danish design by the brand Reform.The kitchen, which is connected to the living room through the open floor plan, is of Danish design by the brand Reform. Photo: Jack MikrutIn addition, the house is marked of smart solutions. The couple likes to have visitors and have therefore built two spacious sleeping lofts, where higher ceilings and larger windows, like those on the front of the house, contribute to making the rooms feel larger. The bathroom is inspired by the Japanese spa hotel Yasuragi in Stockholm and the architect likens it to a cave. Dark stone contributes to the fact that the room, despite its large window, does not have too much visibility. Thanks to the fact that the loft is located directly above, the ceiling height in the bathroom is lower and the feeling is therefore intimate and cozy.”We wanted people to enjoy spending time in the bathroom, while also feeling one with nature inside. It turned out to be a good solution”. The architect designed the house with the vision of allowing nature to be present.The architect designed the house with the vision of letting nature be present. Photo: Jack MikrutToday is the holiday home on Stora Timrarö, however, no longer in Ida Frii’s Tinning and the family’s possession. It was sold in the fall of 2022 and instead the couple is in the process of completing a new project, a house on the same island. Working with clients at work is fun, but it’s not the same as being able to do what you want without having to relate to someone else’s will. Then I can experiment in a completely different way”.What do the plans look like for the new house?
“It will be a bit of James Bond meets Japan, as strange as it sounds. We will work more on bringing the house into the landscape and the mountain, instead of it floating above like the first one we built,” says Ida Friis Tinning. “We love this island so we are happy that we managed to find a new site in the same place for our next project.”Forests are replaced by mountains when Ida Friis works on her new project, where the hope is to build the house into the landscape.Forests are replaced by mountains when Ida Friis works on her new project, where the hope is to build the house into the landscape. Photo: Jack Mikrut

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