Villa Överby by John Robert Nilsson | Dezeen
Villa Överby by John Robert Nilsson

Villa Överby by John Robert Nilsson

This house on a rocky hilltop in Sweden by Swedish architect John Robert Nilsson sits upon on a limestone-covered concrete plinth, which provides a continuous floor surface inside and outside of the house.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

The exterior of Villa Överby is finished in matte black, interrupted only by glass walls which provide views out towards the sea.

Villa Överby by John Robert Nilsson

The glass wall frames sit in recesses in the limestone slabs, allowing the base of the glass to be flush with the ground.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

The plinth extends out into a terrace at the rear of the building with a cut-away at the edge that creates a sunken swimming pool.

Villa Överby by John Robert Nilsson

Photography is by Åke E:son Lindman.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

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The following information is from the architect:


Villa Överby
Värmdö, Stockholm

Situated on a natural plateau atop a rocky headland, the house enjoys panoramic views across the bay and the evening sun to the west. The Gotland limestone on concrete foundation is crafted like a massive plinth, building walkways along three of the house’s façades under the roof’s deep overhangs.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

On the side facing the sea, the limestone-covered foundation opens out into a large terrace with a sunken swimming pool and recessed sitting area providing shelter from the wind. The same limestone-covered foundation forms the connected floor space throughout the house.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

The entrance side of the house features a solid façade wall, plastered and decolored to matte black. The only interruption is a ceiling-high pivot door with a thin lattice of black stained oak filtering the light. The other façades are made up of a structural glazing system of full glass walls.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

The insulated glass consists of an outer layer of Optiwhite glass, reducing daylight discoloration, and an inner layer of thermal control glass to avoid condensation and downdraft.  The bottom of the glass frame is completely recessed and hidden between limestone slabs, making the boundary between outside and inside practically non-existent. A hidden moat around the house, constructed of stainless steel with a limestone cover, channels rain and snow water away.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

The floor plan of the house, a simple rectangular shape, is clearly divided into private and social spheres. The private sphere is further divided into bedrooms, bathrooms and storage, built around an open-concept living space. Instead of traditional doors, most openings are ceiling height. Simply turning the corner gives you the impression of entering a new room.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

The formative idea behind the house was to create a clear and concentrated form in marked contrast to the surrounding landscape. The presence of a concrete object, abstract for the location, also heightens the experience of the rich shades of nature.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

While an agreement on the basic idea was reached quickly, finalizing requirements regarding quality, precision and attention to detail was an extensive project. Behind the clean lines hides a series of advanced technological systems. Tap water is extracted from the sea and treated in a desalination unit. Heating for the floors, outdoor pool and hot water is produced by a geothermal heat pump.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

District cooling, so-called free air-conditioning, is also pumped into the house through the rock shaft, which means that all air-conditioning is basically free of charge. All systems are operated by a smart control and monitoring solution, using a web-based interface, controlled via the internet or a mobile handset.

Villa-Överby-by-John-Robert-Nilsson

Architects (chief, managing and co-workers): John Robert Nilsson Arkitektkontor, Robert Nilsson chief, Maria Århammar managing, Niklas Singstedt / Martin Zetherström / Vincenzo Cassotta contributory.
Interior design: John Robert Nilsson Arkitektkontor
Landscaping, garden: Mikado Mark & Trädgård, Robert Forsberg
Other contractors: Geo Markservice AB, Eva Holmqvist (water/sewage), CSE Projekt, Henrik Nilsson (construction), Itecon AB, Eskil Stenstrand (water), Jan Fransson Elkonsult AB, Håkan Ackland (electricity)
Glass contractors/Suppliers: JB Glaskonsult AB, Johan Backlund, JONI Metall & glasprojektering/ CL Specialglas, Claes Lundén
Client: Private
Construction form: Shared construction
Building contractor: Liljestrand Entreprenad LE AB
Gross area, sq. m: 250 sq. m
Year built: 2007-2009