A Coastal Home Set on Limestone Has its Own Desalinated Water Supply
This sleek and sophisticated house overlooking the sea on the coast of Sweden from Swedish architect John Robert Nilsson is set on a refined white limestone plinth that extends the refinement of indoors out – in a reversal of the usual indoor-outdoor connection: that’s aimed at bringing the outdoors in.
This is an entirely self-sufficient house that makes not just its own energy but also its own fresh water – from the nearby ocean.
I think we are getting used to the concept of making our own energy to power our houses, but – at least to me – desalinating our own water supply from the ocean is a completely new step!
There are now several Swedish and Norwegian firms – ENWA for example – that offer desalination technology for individual households.
There is plenty of water nearby for desalination. The house is sited at the coast, on a natural plateau overlooking the ocean. As well as desalinating the water, the house is off-grid in supplying its own heating and cooling.
A calming neutral and temperate climate is maintained within the limestone house, evening out seasonal temperature swings, through the use of a geothermal ground heat exchange pump, by making the house cooler in the summer’s heat, and making the winter’s cold less extreme. Limestone is a great thermal mass, storing heat or coolness for gradual release.
Excellent insulation takes care of reducing the rest of the energy needs. Super insulated glass has an inner layer of thermal control glass to avoid condensation and downdraft.
The glass also has an outer layer of Optiwhite glass that corrects the light quality to reduce daylight discoloration. (Most glass looks greenish in cross section, changing daylight. Optiwhite glass is a specialty glass that’s completely white at the edges, so light looks natural indoors.)
This bed seems to float outside. By setting the window frame below the limestone, the demarcation of the wall appears to disappear altogether.
The exteriors of Villa Överby are a flat matte black. The smoothed limestone floor seen throughout the house extends out around the house, taking the indoors outside to the rocky hilltop.
By contrast with the other three façades in the front made up of a structural glazing system of full glass walls, at the back of the house – the entrance side of the house features a solid façade wall, interrupted only by a ceiling-high pivot door.
The view through the house from the entrance at the back of the house is to this table. The detailing throughout is precise and lovely. The house is an elegant reflection of the Swedish coast it is set on.
In plan too, the house is clear and concise. It is a beautiful and enduring house that will be self sufficient long into our uncertain future.
Photography is by Åke E:son Lindman.