Villa Snellman

Fall 2015 |  2 Month Long Project  |  Completed in a group of 3

This precedent study was our first project as architecture students. It introduced us to architectural research, hand drafting, and model making.

My team was tasked with studying Villa Snellman. It is a small house in Djursholm, Sweden, designed in 1917 by Gunnar Asplund for the Snellman family. At first glance, the house seems very simple, but it actually is full of subtle complexities. For example, it follows the basic L-shape that defines a central courtyard, but the "L" is actually an 84 degree angle, not 90. The windows on the back of the house also appear very uniform at first glance, but a closer look reveals that the windows on the second floor don't line up with the windows on the first floor.

The reason for these quirks is because Asplund wanted the house to be extremely functional for the family that it served. He would place windows where they would be used the most, rather than where the pattern suggested they be. This simplicity and emphasis on function lead to Asplund becoming the biggest father-figure of the Nordic Neoclassical movement and he would go on to have a huge influence on the work of Alvar Aalto.

 
Our final model was constructed entirely out of basswood. We were allowed to use other materials as well, but we chose to limit ourselves to the one in order to emphasize the simplicity of the building.

Our final model was constructed entirely out of basswood. We were allowed to use other materials as well, but we chose to limit ourselves to the one in order to emphasize the simplicity of the building.

The model came apart to reveal the inner floor plan.

The model came apart to reveal the inner floor plan.

The back view of the house shows how Asplund designed it to fit into the sloping terrain.

The back view of the house shows how Asplund designed it to fit into the sloping terrain.

Another view of the exploded model shows the second floor round room, which was used as a reading room.

Another view of the exploded model shows the second floor round room, which was used as a reading room.