One plot, two houses, three generations

A few years ago, Danish architect Nils Engelund was involved with renovating his son’s house in Højbjerg near Aarhus. Now, he has built his own home designed as an independent annexe to the existing building and thereby realising the dream of three generations living in close proximity.

Ceilings with Troldtekt acoustic panels in private homes
Photo: Jesper Balleby and Tommy Kosior

The new 118 sqm with 85 sqm basement house is constructed from prefabricated lightweight wood elements clad with black aluminium. Nils Engelund describes the architectural style as contemporary functionalism explaining, “While many architects might start out by designing the shape and appearance of a building, I work inside out, focusing on the functions.”

For this project, the priority was to ensure that the two buildings worked well together linked as they are by a glass structure that provides shared access. Because of the sloping site, the two houses have a total of six staggered floors giving them a natural separation and privacy. For example, there is a 10 metre height difference between the new house and the younger generation’s balcony.  

Raw, rustic – and cosy
The simple, airy impression of the new rectangular building is reflected in its interior when you step into the main central space – an all-in-one kitchen, dining and living room – and where a high, sliding cupboard wall separates the large room from the smaller rooms. A beautiful oak staircase leads down to the lower floor basement, which accommodates Nils Engelund’s drawing office and storerooms for his daughter-in-law’s business.

Because of their hard surfaces, the concrete floors, tiles and large expansive windows could have been a major challenge in creating pleasant acoustics. However, the architect’s solution was to line the ceilings with Troldtekt acoustic panels. “The interior has a raw look with its uninterrupted concrete flooring throughout but goes well with the rustic Troldtekt acoustic panels. By opting for a relatively dark colour, the ceiling also appears lower than it actually is, creating a cosier and all-embracing feel,” says Nils Engelund.