The Experimental Housing: Working towards a more sustainable use of resources

Apr 13, 2023Biodiversity, Inspiring initiative, Norway

Photo: Anne-Marie Pos on Unsplash

ACCTING aims to understand the impact of Green Deal policies on vulnerable groups, prevent inequalities, and produce knowledge and innovations to advance behavioural change at individual and collective levels for an inclusive and equal European Green Deal. This bottom-up initiative was collected by Antonio Carnevale within ACCTING’s mapping of inspiring practice cases, within the Biodiversity Research Line. Read our report on all 693 mapped initiatives.


Experimental Housing, Norway


Developing a unique concept

The Experimental Housing is a self-built project at an abandoned “experimental site” at Svartlamon. Trygve Ohren and Haakon Haanes, and Cathrine Johansen Haanes from Nysom Arkitekter, initiated the concept in 2013 to work towards a more frugal and sustainable use of resources while encouraging self-building.

Over the following years, the creative architects continued to develop the project with the involvement of the Svartlamon locals. After five years of preparation and construction, everyone moved in before 2018.

Promoting social cohesion and inclusion

The innovative idea is an adaptable architectural framework of five compact row houses connected with a common house, that self-builders can adapt according to their needs and tastes utilising discarded or reused materials. The primary design standards were that the houses were easy to build without the assistance of specialist (apart from the plumbing and electricity), fit into the current structure of low-rise wooden constructions at Svartlamon, and have a minimal environmental impact.

The project is also a critique of the idea that a sustainable architecture can only be achieved by technological solutions to ensure energy efficiency. The initiative promotes a dissimilar definition to sustainability: the ability to adjust to the environment while using the available resources. The Experimental Housing is an attempt to address energy poverty while fostering social inclusion and cohesiveness. The collaboration between the Svartlamon’s locals and the exchange of professionalism improved energy efficiency on a budget and in an inclusive way.

Find out more here.

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