San Francisco- and Oslo-based firm Mork Ulnes Architects has unveiled a black timber home tucked into a forestscape in Norden, California. To connect the home with its stunning scenery, the chalet-inspired Troll Hus was clad in pine tar-treated wood and elevated off the landscape with large concrete pillars for minimal site impact.
The massive, 3,300-square-foot family home holds court in the middle of a pine forest, just an hour and a half outside of Sacramento. To blend the home into its pristine natural environment, it was clad in dark wood. The black, timber structure sits high up near the tree canopies, giving off a sense of peaceful solitude among the soaring trees.
According to the architects, the inspiration for the design was to create a family home where the residents could reconnect with nature, whether inside or outside the home. They explained, “The design is driven both by the extreme environmental conditions found at a 6,800-foot elevation and a California sensibility of generous indoor-outdoor living.”
While the elevation of the home certainly affords stunning views, the pillars are also a strategic feature that provides resilience and passive temperature control. The concrete legs were meant to reduce the impact on the environment and protect the home from snow fall, which can reach up to 800 inches during winter. Additionally, putting extra elevation to the home allows for optimal solar exposure in the winter and shading from direct sun in the summer. The orientation of the house also shields the building from strong winds.
On the interior, the living space is clad in light wood paneling, creating a soothing vibe. An abundance of large windows brighten the interior with natural light. The open living and dining layout was designed to offer ample room for entertaining or simply enjoying the views in solitude. A large terrace wraps around one side of the home, further enhancing the design’s strong connection to the outdoors.
Photography by Bruce Damonte