Aesthetic wind protection
On the beach of Apelviken in the Swedish health resort of Varberg, a settlement of lookalike holiday houses was developed. They are exceptional not only through their extraordinary location right on the sea, but also through their minimal styling and uniform use of materials. The roof and façades are protected from the sea breezes with light-colored fiber cement panels and allow the homey interior life to extend into the outside patio.
The small town of Varberg, which lies on the west coast of southern Sweden, celebrated its 200th year as a health resort in 2011. Varberg is very well known for its baths, whose history goes back to the beginning of the 19th century. The town’s showpiece is the magnificent “Cold bath house” (Kallbadhuset), a bathhouse built on piles in the sea. It is typical of the time, 1864, with its orientalised style of ornamentation, triangular windows and cupola towers. After it was destroyed twice by storms, the Varberg citizens rebuilt it each time, so that today it is still their pride and town landmark.
Today, tourism in Varberg is still oriented to the baths and water sports. The city has three spa and wellness complexes. Along the coast, there are countless beaches that invite swimming and are well known for their wind and kite-surfing. One of these areas is the former fishing village of Apelviken, which lies two kilometres south of the town center. It has a long shallow bay with a long sandy beach that is popular with sun worshippers as well as being widely known among surfers.
As with almost all of Scandinavia’s beaches, summerhouses dot Apelviken’s coast. Native as well as foreign visitors treasure these simple, small houses set close to the sea. Apelviken now also has 30 new beach houses that were built as part of the 200-year celebration to replace older houses. The newly inhabited small structures sit on a spectacular site directly behind the sandy beach of the bay. They are built in pairs and arranged in four straight rows on the common lawn. Each of the identical houses has two bedrooms and offers places for a maximum of eight guests. The living room shares the roof with the patio.
The builder was the community itself. The mandate was for consistently high quality in planning and execution. To ensure first-class architecture, the Vabergers engaged the young ambitious architect’s office of Karlsson Wachenfeldt Arkitekter in Göteborg. Johan von Wachenfeldt and Mattias Karlsson started their own office in 2005 and today have ten employees. For the construction, the long-established firm of Byggbröderna in Falkenberg was engaged. The town, the architects and the construction company all took mutual responsibility for a good result.
The decision to clad both walls and roof with the same panel was straightforward.
Karlsson Wachenfeldt Arkitekter
On the side directly on the water’s edge, exposed to the constant salty sea breeze and the occasional hefty storm, it was important to find roof and façade materials that were robust and durable in every aspect. In addition, an aesthetic appealing appearance was desired as well as a simple cleaning method. The solution was uniformly colored fiber cement panels from Swisspearl for the façades and roofs. The decision to clad both the façades and the roofs with the same panels was clear to all those involved and decisive for projections for the future. The use of one material simplified maintenance and gives the buildings a coherent effect. The architects selected three slightly different but still similar white-gray color tones.
The one-storey holiday houses are built with wood construction methods – like the old Cold bath house. Façades and roofs are clad with the lighter fiber cement panels in a continuous horizontal format. The external joints of the identical houses are simple: the inclined surface of the double-pitched roof glides, without a ledge or a projection, over into the sidewall. In front of the window, half of the roof projects over the patio and the resulting niche is finished in wood, thus creating a contrast between the robust weather protection and the homely interior furnishing of the holiday home.
NICE TO KNOW
Apelviken Beach Houses
Surbrunnsvägen 2–8, Varberg, Sweden
Karlsson Wachenfeldt Arkitekter, Göteborg, Sweden
Claes Westlin, Malmö, Sweden
2009 – 2010
Byggbröderna i Falkenberg, Falkenberg, Sweden
Swisspearl Carat Onyx 7090, 7091, 7099
PDF project sheet
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