In 2010, Norwegian architect Espen Handegård established his own architectural firm to create something completely unique for his clients. He focused on Norwegian interplay between architecture, landscape and art.
He says that the three elements strengthen each other and that’s why he meets each new project with openness and playfulness in search of exciting, whimsical and adventurous well-thought-out architecture.
Handegård has two passions in life: art and modern architecture. One of Handegård’s achievements was winning a competition for the contract to create a roadside landmark for Askim municipality in the south east of Norway. His winning design, called Motion, is a six-storey tall sculpture built of 2,500 aluminum pipes, arranged to form a wavelike structure. He created the project in collaboration with artist Arne Reyheim.
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Whether it is drawing a new building, remodeling an old, worn-out house, or taking on a large scale public project, Handegård tackles them all with the same approach.
“Every site and architecture has a layered history. How we treat these layers together with the new ones will define our contemporary architectural expressions,” he says.
He aims to make as little impact as possible on the environment, and uses materials with a low carbon footprint.
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“That way we can design a sustainable building that adapts to nature and its surroundings. In the design phase we always try to find an element the client may not even know they want, and one which contributes to making the building unique. This could be the surprising crossroad where architecture meets art,” says Handegård.
So also with his bathhouse looking like a traditional small boathouse with red-painted cladding, tin roofs resting on granite columns into the water. This is the first impression – especially when coming from the road at the back – where the building seems closed and modest.
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At the same time as it blends well into the cultural-historical diversity, it gives an assumption about a twist. If you look closer, you notice that several of the cladding boards are angled. They close the building towards the back and open it towards the front. When you enter, you experience the purpose – you are sheltered at the same time as you have a view of the entire sea.
Norwegian Interplay Between Architecture, Landscape and Art, written by Tor Kjolberg