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Residential complex - Rundeskogen Towers

DRMM | Helen & Hard

Residential complex - Rundeskogen Towers
By Caterina Testa -

The wooded hill of Rundeskogen on the western coast of Norway is a natural landmark connecting three neighbouring towns. Between these urban centres lies a patchwork of low-density residential neighbourhoods, small-business parks, housing estates, a recently discovered Viking site, and pockets of woodland. To the east lies the fjord; to the west, open countryside.
The three residential blocks by Helen & Hard and drmm architectural practices dialogue with all these elements. The decision to develop upwards not outwards was dictated by the need to keep a respectful distance from the nearby archaeological site, but also give the new occupants views over the fjord while not blocking it for nearby houses.
The programme takes its cue from the tree. The structural frame is the trunk; the suspended cantilevered volumes and crown are the branches and leaf canopy; the HPL laminated timber surfaces, the leaves. Originally, the three volumes were designed to be entirely in timber. This was changed to the actual reinforced concrete central core supporting a timber and concrete construction.
The imposing bulk of three towering, apparently out-of-context, blocks is balanced by an open ground floor space that extends outwards on several levels to include a children’s playground, sports field and landscaped public areas connecting the new buildings with the surrounding district.
Both outer form and interior spatial distribution are informed by the particular conditions of light, wind direction and orientation. The prism shape makes the best of the sun’s orientation and affords views not only over the countryside but also diagonal glimpses between and around the towers. The weak rays of a low northern sun seem to gradually slip round the prism-shaped volumes, bouncing off the triangular laminated timber surface panels.
The apartments of the towers start from the first floor: 113 in total, varying in size from 60 to 140 square metres. Every...

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