Portfolio project
Between a house and a cliff

Thibaut Devulder
The staircase/treehouse, dovetailing the different outdoor spaces, as seen from the garden entrance

The staircase/treehouse, dovetailing the different outdoor spaces, as seen from the garden entrance

For this small landscaping project, we were approached by our clients who have just bought and refurbished a house overlooking Østensjø, a large lake on the outskirts of Oslo.

Located on an elevated spot, the house and its west terraces enjoyed wonderful open views to the neighbouring lake (Østensjø). As a counterpoint, the rest of the outdoor spaces were tucked on a very tight site, terraced over three different levels and have been neglected in the recent years. A 8-metre high cliff backed the property to the east, overgrown with wild vines and bergenias, creating a lush cascade of vegetation and rocks.

Our client asked us to outline a strategy for making the best use of the tight exterior spaces, spread over three terraces, and organise them so that both adult activities and children play could blend together harmoniously.

The “cliff” of vegetation at the back of the property, with its lush vegetation cascading down the rocks.

The “cliff” of vegetation at the back of the property, with its lush vegetation cascading down the rocks.

Carefully analysing the existing opportunities offered by this intricate space, we designed a string of private and social spaces around the house, each with its unique feeling — from serene and secluded to social and vibrant— articulated by a central winding stair that doubled as a playful “tree house”.

We will be following up the work on site with our clients, impatiently awaiting the children’s feedback on their new playhouse! In the meantime, here are a few of drawings from our design process.