March 7, 2019 | Architecture
The Mill House by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor
The Mill House is converted from a large old farm in the countryside in southern Sweden into a vacation house for a family from the nearby city of Malmö. It was designed by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor, a Sweden based architectural agency.
The entire building is crafted with the precision of fine cabinetry and the craftsmanship and materials – oak and limestone – infuse the atmosphere with warmth and authenticity. The heavily detailed architecture of the interior is more than a mere background for its contents.
By contrast, the simple exterior gives no indication of the care lavished on the inside, particularly the façade towards the courtyard. Its most prominent feature is a horizontal gable window of adjoining squares, but as a whole, the exterior seems to strive for an archetypal simplicity that recalls the watermill that once stood on the site.
The path of water is lyrically articulated: rainwater pitches from a scupper in the stone wall into a brimming trough overflows across the limestone border of the patio and trickles into the stream below. This detail breathes the same clarifying calm as Sen-no-Rikyu’s contemplative 16th-century teahouses in Kyoto. The relationship between this sauna and the Japanese tradition of aesthetic simplicity is obvious in the poetic treatment of basic elements, such as the subtly recessed seat before the open fire or the beautiful relationship between the floor upstairs and the ceiling.
In contrast to the straightforward simplicity of teahouse architecture, which strove after an artless naïveté in the treatment of materials, the finishes in this building are executed with great artistry. If Sukiya architecture was meant to surprise the samurai with its robust expressiveness, this little house is surprisingly extravagant. Unfortunately, the dignity of the refined interior is not reflected in its largely trivial surroundings, which in the end diminish its glory. The ambitious architecture outreaches its humble site.
Photo by Åke Eson Lindman, James Silverman