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Thousand Year House

Investigative project


Frösön, Jämtland, Sweden

The thousand year house is a investigative project aimed to look at the conception of sustainability from a whole new perspective.

A common expected lifespan of a newly constructed building of today is 50 years. By studying buildings that have survived far longer than that, a question was posed:

How can we construct buildings that lasts a thousand years?


A concrete architectural task was constructed: to make a library on the island of Frösön in Jämtland, Sweden.

Three very old buildings in the surroundings were analyzed, and with them as a basis, four basic principles were established:


Simplicity – a reduced set of building materials and techniques. By using materials and methods that we have a deep set of knowledge about, we can construct structures that will withstand time and give good conditions for well made reparations, alterations and additions.

Clarity – a way of constructing and a set of material that is easy to read creates a clarity where each piece has its own role and place.


Robustness – Simplicity together with clarity and knowledge creates a robustness for coming expected or unexpected changes as well as physical stress. No building can withstand everything, but with a thorough analysis, resilience can be achieved.


Poetry – Sustainable buildings need to be more than the sum of its parts. Apart from their physical materiality also have a spatiality, an atmosphere, a context and a meaning for the people whom the building affects.


The proposed building is situated in a landscape where pine trees and limestone have played a significant role in building traditions throughout history and still today, and these two natural resources have laid the basis for the proposal.

The building has a deep limestone foundation. The bottom floor is raised over the surrounding ground area, and the entry is reached by ramps. The outer perimeter consists of a series of rooms with different spatial qualities. In the center of the building, there is an open and flexibel space built up by a secondary timber structure. The Timber structure extends to the top of the building and creates the large roof structure covered by copper.

Window frames are made in copper and are mounted in niches in the openings of the perimeter.

The technical systems of the building together with furnishings creates a third layer, clearly independent of the building’s structure.

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