Swedish house design is data driven (and small and modern)

Lloyd Alter (@lloydalter)

They call it “The House of Clicks”.

This lovely red box is ostensibly designed by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter, but it is programmed by two million Swedes who clicked on Hemnet. The big property site analyzed 200 million clicks on 86,000 properties and asked the architects go create “Sweden’s statistically most sought after home.”

This is data from visits and properties that were for sale on Hemnet between January and October 2014. In addition to this data, we conducted an image analysis of the most clicked properties over a six week period. Each week the images from the 50 most clicked properties were analysed to gather additional data about the interiors. For example: the colours of the walls, floor types or kitchen countertop materials.

It’s a remarkable idea, truly crowdsourcing the programmatic characteristics. And the results are pretty remarkable too, with three bedrooms and two baths in only 120m2 (which they call 1115 SF but I convert as 1296 SF). The house will sell for 2,774,021 Swedish Kroner, which converts directly to US$ 332,458 and adjusted for purchasing power parity is US$ 234,470, which is not bad at all for this kind of quality.

The architects explain how they turn this into a house:

© Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

The house is in short based on two parts: first a direct interpretation of Big Data statistics from all the Hemnet users, an average value that determined the measurable properties of the home, including size, price, number of rooms, bathrooms and floors. To this Tham & Videgård have added a reading of the Swedish house condensed into two iconic types: the red wooden cottage that represents history, local resources, crafts and national building traditions; and the white functionalist box, which stands for modernity, optimism, industrial development, the welfare state and international ideals. The aim was then to create an architecture that combines the statistics with the features of the two iconic types: the rationality of the functionalistic box combined with the quality of craftmanship and material presence of the Falu red cottage.

Wow. The welfare state and international ideals. I somehow don’t think those would show up in a North American design.

© Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

Swedes evidently want big, bright open kitchens (57% of properties clicked on had open plan kitchens) that are in fact the home’s most important social spaces, which the architects have turned into a big double height space. Oh, and Swedes like stone countertops with white cabinet doors. ” The kitchen is now one of the home’s most important social spaces, here emphasized with a double floor to ceiling height and the inclusion of space for both dining and stairs.”

© Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

Swedes also apparently like grey monochrome furniture and natural materials in their living room, and a fireplace is a must.

© Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

Bathrooms are fully tiled; the average of all the hits was 1.6 bathrooms per house, so there are two, one with bath and one with shower only. I cannot imagine a North American house with less than two full bathrooms, one ensuite to the master bedroom.

© Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

Wood floors everywhere! Not a drop of carpet. Bright and airy is the fashion. It looks out to the lovely enclosed deck.

© Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

The deck is great for privacy, particularly if the houses are sited close together in a denser environment. It also can be enclosed if more space is needed later.

© Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

There are many things to love in this house; the light, the private outdoor spaces, the bike locker at the entrance. It is small, efficient, modern and bright. It’s the antithesis of what gets built in North America. Here are the data:

© HemNet

and here is the plan.

© Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

More on the house at Hemnet’s house site, which they kindly produce in English. I would love to know what an American version would look like; probably this:

© Thomas Kinkade


One thought on “Swedish house design is data driven (and small and modern)

  1. Pingback: How Big Data Can Improve Speculative Building Plans | Smallman Construction and Electric

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