Dragspelhuset at Övre Gla

24H Architecture, Årjäng, 2004


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Extended summer house with original cabin on the right 

James Silverman     Download Original

  • Extended summer house with original cabin on the right    
  • Extended cantilever, which contains most of the opening. Withdrawing the extension increases insulation and security    
  • The house growing out of the ground    
  • Lath-lined permanent addition to original cabin    
  • Deerskin-lined extendable section with removable slot-fixed chairs    
  • The view to the north    
  • View from expandable section facing south east to the lake    
  • The earth toilet    
  • The site plan shows the house extended to the stream edge and, to the west, the earth toilet    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Ground floor plan extended    
  • Elevation    
  • Elevation extended    
  • Section at original cabin    
  • Section through extension    

Renovation of a cabin in Sweden including the addition of a retractable extension which, when expanded, cantilevers over a stream

The original cabin, which has been insulated, provides sleeping quarters for the family. The permanent extension provides a kitchen and dining area, with cooking and storage facilities contained efficiently in a single unit; a long counter top extends to create a table for dining. Its walls, finished in birch plastering-laths, resemble the skin of a large reptile. The expandable section can be used as a sitting room or as a space for visitors.

The whole structural frame and the floor are built from decay-resistant local timber, whilst the red cedar shingles came from Canada as the local Swedish shingles were too soft to be left unpainted.

The extension of the original cabin has been made expandable. The ceiling of the extendable section uses reindeer pelts, an idea picked up from the Ice Hotel in Sweden’s Arctic Circle.

The total living area can now expand from 54m2 to 72m2. So they have called the house Dragspelhuset – ‘accordion house’ in Swedish. It is retracted in winter and extended during the summer by hand, using pulleys.


  • Begun: May 2002
  • Completed: Aug 2004
  • Floor area: 72m2
  • Sector: House
  • Total cost: £54,000
  • Address: Dragspelhuset, Kopparebäcke, Smolmark, Årjäng, 1765, Sweden

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