Tailor Made Arkitekter merges an archetypal barn with a glasshouse for lakeside spa in Sweden


Half greenhouse, half rust-coloured barn, this spa and events space by Tailor Made Arkitekter stands on the edge of Lake Vättern in southern Sweden (+ slideshow).

Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter

Designed by Gothenburg studio Tailor Made Arkitekter to replace an old barn, Uppgrenna Nature House takes its cues from traditional Swedish architecture, but also from greenhouses.

It is modelled on the Naturhus, or nature house, a sustainable housing concept developed by Swedish architect Bengt Warne in the 1970s.

Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter

Like Warne's original design, the Uppgrenna Nature House consists of a core living area surrounded by an insulating glass shell, creating a sheltered outdoor environment that is protected from the cold weather during the winter months.

Over 200 square metres of the building's 520-square-metre floor plan are within the giant greenhouse, which contains terraces with views over Lake Vättern.

Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter

"We were inspired by this 70s concept," said studio founder Fredrik Olson. "We have at the moment around 10 [similar] projects running."

"Nature houses consists of three parts: one, an insulated building; two, a greenhouse with fantastic, protected outdoor spaces; and three, a loop for recycling wastewater," he explained.

Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter

Dining and meeting facilities occupy a wooden mezzanine level below the pitched glass roof and a second lower terrace surrounded by planting, while a spa treatment room and guest bedroom are located in the timber base of the structure, which is partially sunken into a grassy slope.

Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter

The red cladding and shutters mimic the colouring typically given to Swedish barns and houses by Falu Rödfärg, a paint that originates from the Falun copper mine in Dalarna.

The colour is so popular that when Tham & Videgård attempted to design "Sweden's most statistically sought-after home" the firm created a mash-up of the nation's traditional red-painted timber cottages and a functional box.

Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter

Design studio Claesson Koivisto Rune also used the traditional paint to create the dark red to yellow ochre gradient on the timber walls of a house near Stockholm, while Max Holst used an earthy black shade of the traditionally red paint for a woodland villa.

"The exterior is portrayed with inspiration from traditional Swedish barn houses, with its simple doors and shutters," said Olson. "It creates dynamism with the facade and reduces heat radiation when the house is not in use."

Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter

A metal staircase affixed to the exterior of one side of the building provides direct access to the glass upper levels. Here, species of plants more typically associated with warmer climates take advantage of the insulated terraces.

Large plant beds containing vegetable and fruit plants are fed by nutrients from the building's sewage, creating a system that generates food and warmth rather than consuming it. Some of the produce appears on the restaurant's vegetarian menu, including pumpkin pie.

Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter

"The vision is to make a self-sustainable house that produces food, instead of waste," said Olson."Living in a greenhouse encourages a sustainable and non-toxic lifestyle."

"It becomes very clear why you should not emit pollutants in the environment, it turns back in to your own recycling system," he added.

Photography is by Ulf Celander.

Project credits:

Architects: Tailor Made Arkitekter
Architect in charge: Fredrik Olson
Collaborators: Greenhouse Living by Anders Solvarm, Niklas Dahlström

Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter
First floor plan – click for larger image
Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter
Section one – click for larger image
Uppgrenna Nature House by Tailor Made Arkitekter
Section two – click for larger image
  • Birdman

    I am sorry to be critical about this beautiful project, but with large glazed buildings in a natural environment there is always the risk of birds colliding with the windows because they just can’t see them.

    Architects often are obsessed with creating transparent buildings to allow us to enjoy nature without losing the comfort of being inside a protected space. However, I prefer an old-fashioned house with small windows and to open a door and go out for a walk if I want to see, hear and touch the nature around me. Even though this project is called sustainable I think it conveys a distorted view of our relation to the environment.

    For me, this way of sitting inside a glass house and looking at the world outside is a kind of inverted zoo that makes all of nature something apart from us and something alien to look at. But it’s really the birds that out of the blue hit an unexpected barrier that I am worried about.

    • bird troll

      Bird troll strikes again.

    • SteveLeo

      As someone else posted in another topic:

      “You can easily bird-proof glass and mirrored surfaces in a way that’s invisible to the human eye but visible for birds since they can see into the UV spectrum. Check for instance http://www.ornilux.com

      Maybe promoting solutions such as this rather than just complaining about any project that comes on here that has lots of glass and some pot plants inside would be a better use of your valuable time.

    • Thomas

      Birds are pretty animals, but they aren’t more endangered than rats are. Sorry, but you’re a troll.