January 30, 2015

2014 BOY Winner: Green

One Christmas, Erla Ingjalds-dóttir surprised her parents with a special gift, a balsa-wood model of a house. She and her husband, Trygvvi Thorsteinsson, principals of their firm, were to build the actual house in an area where her great-grandparents were the first settlers—on 4 acres of farmland that had been in the family for centuries. By com-parison, construction took a short time: 10 years. 

That the result would be environmentally conscious in orien-tation, form, materials, and sys-tems was a given. “Iceland, by its nature, is green,” Thorsteinsson says. “We referred to the region’s traditional houses in mud brick with sod roofs.” This updated version is a simple concrete structure with framing of sustainably harvested Douglas fir, plus abundant double glazing. There’s also a grass-covered roof. Ingjaldsdóttir’s father participated by planting the pine, spruce, and willow trees outside. 

Interiors, encompassing 1,000 square feet, comprise basically a great room, a master suite, and a sleeping loft for guests. The restrained palette combines Douglas fir, again, with maple and slate. A composite of re-cycled cork and rubber clads the kitchen cabinetry. Furnishings, a min-imal amount of clean-lined pieces, achieve a Nordic cool.

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