Trollstua Huset

Brunswick, Maine
Completed 2010
Photography by Eric Sokol
Builder: Ron Leblanc

Trollstua (Troll's Den) - a Norwegian reference.

Our client was a young woman who had purchased a piece of land on the banks of the New Meadows river in Brunswick. The existing camp on the property was cramped and dark, propped up on concrete blocks and sagging dreadfully. After spending a number of summers there, she decided to undertake building a new camp; her goals were to create a bright, comfortable, and energy efficient new structure on a tight budget, that she could enjoy year round.

Zoning constraints had a strong influence on the shape and plan of the new camp; only a minimal increase in area and volume was permitted, and once the program was on paper,the new plan was shaped toward the best views, sunlight, and to flow around the large trees that were situated in the narrow building area.

Since the permitted volume was also greatly constrained by the zoning limits, a traditional gabeled roof form seemed wasteful. The new structure would have shallow pitch and flat roofs to squeeze the overall volume down in to the living spaces. Toward the back, where the bedrooms are located, the roofs are almost flat; At the living and dining areas, the roof twists and angles up more dramatically to let sunlight flood in and to open to the panoramic river views. Traditional roofing materials don’t lend themselves as well to flat, twisting roof forms, so creating a planted roof seemed an attractive and obvious choice that would blend in well with the natural surroundings, reduce runoff, and bolster the already superinsulated building envelope.

Almost all of the interior and exterior finishes were sourced from local mills and quarries; this fit in nicely with the green spirit of the house but had the added bonus of keeping costs low. The scale of the finishes was deliberately exaggerated to emphasize the small structure’s strong and unique relationship to its natural surroundings.