A gateway of pleached oak trellises leads to a small outbuilding in the Swedish countryside, designed by Gert Wingårdh. The simple, gabled cube is a jointing of far-flung relatives, Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetic and attitude, carried out in dove-tailed stairs, exposed wood beams, and a triangle of glazing mullioned in a diamond array. This is the Mill House, and just one of many great examples of Wingårdhs’ work.
The idea of the rift and striation seems to find its way into more than a few of the designs. This movement breaks the megalithic, singular geometries of the massing. The results are stark. The project descriptions, sometimes due to welcomely coarse translation, are likewise brazen and place their design language in a similar vocabulary.
More subtly (but just as powerfully), they are able to create a calming intrigue by using some of their buildings as studies of materiality. Forms awe with it. Wetlands mold into a sculpted, straw visitor center, charcoaled cladding rises conversely to the lake bed, sibling reflections about the lake surface.
The site’s character is studied and repeated back, a process of learning, but it is retold in a different voice. Any mimicry of the landscape immediately surrounding the building, be it natural or urban, isn’t a stale blending, but an elegant sensitivity.
Whether manifested in serenity or starkness, the thoroughly designed works of Wingårdhs strikes as good architecture.