Studio Viktor Sørless was commissioned to design a coastal summer home in Denmark, called the Dune House. The project was made to be a one-off contemporary home on the edge of waterfront. Overlooking unobstructed views across the landscape, the project was designed for a film enthusiast to be a sustainable retreat inspired by Roman Polanski’s movie The Ghostwriter. “Most of the time client briefings ended up with film screenings,“ Viktor Sørless remembers, “In The Ghostwriter actually the building has the leading role setting the mood of the movie. That had an impact on him.“ With regard to sustainability, natural stone was used from the region. A green roof improves the summer heat insulation, while an integrated solar heat system is about to cover the water heating and heating supply.
Elevated off the ground, the project takes its shape because the client briefed our studio that he has a form of mirror-touch synaesthesia. Those with this kind of synaesthesia – about 2 per cent of the population – can literally feel what others are feeling. For example, they feel as if their own body is being touched whenever they see someone else being touched.
That’s why location was important for the client, as he feels the sensation of the wind in the dunes as a calming experience. As a result, our studio elevated the living area to create a gallery in the wind. “Wind is the touch of the lonesome. The Dune House opens up to nature and allows contemplation in solitude. Solitude is a good company. In my view, only in intimate communion with solitude you can find yourself,“ explains Viktor Sørless. Curtains and large windows were placed in every room to emphasize the movement. The home was partly inspired by philosopher Hermann Schmitz’s idea that wind is a half-thing (Halbding). “If wind is gone, we don’t know where it’s gone but we can feel the absence and presence on our bodies. Half-things create atmospheres.”
The house is entered via an elevator room which functions as a vestibule and gallery. The cross-formed building is oriented to the four cardinal directions, and in turn, considers light as the fifth element orienting and driving the design. “The angle of light formed between the light/subject axis changes throughout the day and determine a cinematic mood and message”, explains Viktor Sørless. “Light is a story of shadows. This duality reflects the ambivalent nature of human existence. To sculpture light means to show and hide, reveal and cover.“
Light-coloured clay coating is to give the walls an inconspicuous surface and prevent glare and mirroring in conjunction with the building’s lighting. Being surrounded by clay walls gives also a sense of coinhabiting with the earth. The coating is breathing, actively controlling humidity and cleaning the air. Clay does not offgas like many internal finishes and releases no toxins into the indoor air. The ecological qualities of the material bring the house close to the vision of a “living building”, maximise its service life and improve the indoor climate.
Client: Private client, Residential building
Status: In completion
Year: 2017 – ongoing
Location: Coastline in Denmark