words by Sami Rintala

In the North all buildings for living have to be made in an advanced way due to the ever-contrasting weather. Additionally, the houses have to be properly heated with external energy more than half of the year’s course. Therefore producing smaller homes would bring about a considerable economical and ecological benefit. Today the construction activity stands alone for more than one third of total global energy and material consumption, well exceeding that of all traffic and transport.
This should be a crucial question especially in Scandinavia, where people, in accordance with their growing wealth, possess larger and larger houses. And in most cases, this in addition to a second home called a summer house or a cottage.
Boxhome is a 19 square meter dwelling with four rooms covering the basic living functions: kitchen with dining, bathroom, living room and bedroom.
Firstly, the project focuses in the quality of space, material and natural light, and tries to reduce unnecessary floor area. The result is a dwelling where the price is only 1/4 of the price of any same size apartment in the same area. Boxhome is a prototype building, yet the same attitude could be taken further to bigger family housing and consequently to work places.
Secondly, it seems that we have given the right to produce our homes to uncontrollable groups of actors who seek mostly maximum income. The basic need to have one’s family protected has become a great business adventure. Making a simple house, after all, is perhaps not such a difficult task that it should be totally left for this kind of forces. Moreover, meeting the official construction restrictions and laws usually seems to equal to the using of the building industry products and services, thus limiting the possibilities of a real change and development into minimum.
Thirdly, in Western societies at the moment we are enjoying the highest standard of living ever know to human kind. At the same time we are fully informed of the results of our culture of consumerism. Therein lays the greatest paradox: We are forced to actively forget the real reality to be able to enjoy the facade of excess we have created around us.
Finally, and most importantly, the goal has been to make a peaceful small home, a kind of urban cave, where a person can withdraw to, and whenever wished, forget the intensity of the surrounding city for awhile.

Project data:

Client: Galleri ROM, Maridalsveien 3, Oslo, Norway

Curator: Henrik de Menassian

Work group: Sami Rintala, architect Oslo,Dagur Eggertson, architect Oslo,John Roger Holte, artist Oslo, Julian Fors, architect student Vienna

Sponsors: Aspelin-Ramm/ funding, Infill/ funding, Ruukki/ metal facades, Pilkington Floatglass/ windows, Optimera Industri/ interior wood, Vitra Scandinavia/ chair and lamps, SM-Lys/ lamps. Byggmakker/ construction material, Glava Isolasjon/ insulation


wood: pine/ structures

cypress/ interior walls and floors

birch/ kitchen

spruce/ bathroom

red oak/ living room

nut/ bedroom

aluminium:  facades

Size: exterior measures 5500 cm (length) x 5700 cm (height) x 2300 cm (width)

Boxhome in Oslo by Sami Rintala

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