A housing scheme for elderly people that reinterprets the Norwegian timber vernacular.LiveNorwayTimber




Drøbak, 30 kilometres south of Oslo, is one of Norway’s most beautiful and picturesque towns, with historic wooden buildings, narrow streets and spectacular views of Oslofjord.

The aim of the Drømmehagen project is to develop an innovative housing typology that supports the growing population of elderly people in the town as well as making the most of this stunning location.

Our brief was to give equal focus to the internal and external spaces, creating a place that would bring people together within the community as well as connecting them with the wider town.

Drømmehagen is situated at the gateway to Drøbak, connecting the town centre with its surrounding suburbs. To create active frontages onto the street, we integrated shops and restaurants into a landscaped podium below the apartments – and a car park below that.

The apartment blocks themselves are arranged around generous outdoor spaces, linking private areas with a new public square and the town beyond. This shift between public and private is achieved through subtle adjustments in the landscaping and its relationship to the architecture.

We designed the apartments with multiple aspects to take advantage of the views. Each is flexible enough to adapt to changes in activity and routine over time, with generous double-height volumes on the upper floors.

At the lower levels, the apartments link through to the outdoor spaces. These are active landscapes, designed to be used all year round, with gardens and allotments, a boules court and recreational space.

In the architecture, we wanted to reinterpret Drøbak’s wooden vernacular architecture in a contemporary manner, so the buildings are clad in wood, subtly stained to match those elsewhere in the town. Alternating pitched roofs and stone plinths give form, scale and texture.

The apartments will have a cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction and enjoy passive design measures, coupled with a renewable energy strategy.