Gartnerlien I

Mix & Match cladding that embraces its surroundings

Norwegian firm TAG Arkitekter has completed a trio of apartment buildings on the outskirts of Bergen, each clad in slender vertical Thermory pine boards designed to relate to the area’s surrounding conifer trees. The project, known as Gartnerlien, was completed last winter in 2020 in collaboration with developer Bonava.

Located about a 20-minute drive south from the Norwedigan city, the project comprises three, five-storey buildings erected into hillsides across a large, undulating plot in Sandslimarka. Pathways and roads meander around the complex, with several entrances at different elevations, while parking garages are located below grade.

“The site has some different heights in the terrain and a dense pine forest,” said Birthe Maria Ervik, the project architect from TAG Arkitekter, in an interview. “Our concept was to play along with the verticality and materiality made by the trees on site and therefore we introduced the idea of vertical thermo pine cladding.”

Thermory cladding covers the three buildings vertically to emphasize the height of the structures, as well as draw attention to the scale of the pine trees. Outdoor railings for terraces and partition walls also feature narrow, vertical louvers. The apartments’ windows are relatively tall as well, and almost span from the ceiling and floors, creating views of both the forest and Gartnerlien’s central common garden. TAG Arkitekter has designed several other residential buildings around Europe, and the studio first worked with Thermory boards for a house in Nordås, also to the south of Bergen.

When choosing the type and size of Thermory product for Gartnerlien, TAG Arkitekter worked with supplier Moelven. “I like both the warm, natural colour and the smooth surface of this product,” said Ervik. The team ended up with Thermory pine boards placed in a narrow arrangement to resemble the traditional Norwedigan cladding style called “tømmermannskledning”, or Carpenter’s panels. Different board widths also accentuate different details. “For all the parts that we wanted to point out verticality between the windows, we have used an even more narrow width of the boards, which you can see on the façades,” she added. “For the walls that seclude the balconies, we used a different kind of cladding to make a smoother surface for the residents and to make a shift in the cladding and cut some openings in the volume as a whole.”

The three residential buildings, known  A, B and C, are arranged with A and C opposite each other and similarly sized with large private patios for the units. Building B runs in between them and is slightly narrower and longer. A combination of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units feature across the buildings. Inside, the interiors of Sandslimarka feature light wood floors and walls in green and white. Much of the kitchens have U-shaped counters to maximize storage and efficiency. “For the first two buildings (A and B), Bonava wanted large apartments with large, private balconies for everybody, for the third building (C) it is more of a mix in sizes,” Ervik said. The three structures are connected by outdoor pathways of red brick, chosen to contrast to the surrounding greenery and natural wood boards of the exteriors. “It looks really good together with the green from the plants and the natural wood,” Ervik added.

Rounding out the development are grassy areas, pine trees, and an open square in between with a common building for all residents to use featuring double-folded wood cladding. The communal structure is modeled on an orangery – a building from the 17th century built on the grounds of stately residences where potted fruit trees were placed inside to be protected in the winter months. Similar to a large greenhouse or conservatory, orangeries originated in Europe with the Renaissance gardens of Italian villas. At TAG Arkitekter’s project, the orangery is a place for tenants to host gatherings. “The idea is that the residents can use this space for events such as birthdays, book clubs or other gatherings,” said Ervik. “They can also use it as a place where they plant so there is access to water and drainage both inside and out.” In the winter, it can be a place to keep outdoor plants inside and away from Norway’s harsh climate, functioning like a greenhouse.

Photos: Veronika Stuksrud

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