Förstberg Ling completes redbrick townhouse blocks in Sweden

Exterior image of the red brick townhouses from street level that were designed by Forstberg Ling

Swedish studio Förstberg Ling has completed Twelve Houses in Malmö, a series of three townhouse blocks with gridded brick facades and an exposed cross-laminated timber structure.

Förstberg Ling acted as developer, architect and main contractor for the project in Nora Sorgenfri, Malmö oldest industrial area which is currently subject to a large programme of urban development.

Exterior image of the red brick townhouse blocks Twelve Houses
Twelve Houses is a block of townhouses that were designed by Förstberg Ling

“The townhouses are part of a transformation of a larger city block, finding their place between a cluster of turn-of-the-century buildings with decorative brickwork and a modernistic tram depot in concrete,” explained the practice.

“The townhouses fit in the industrial scale of Sorgenfri but are also separate entities, like an avenue of trees with intertwined branches,” it continued.

Image of the rear of Twelve Houses and the paved gardens with green plant beds
The site is comprised of three blocks of townhouses

Built from a structure of cross-laminated timber (CLT), each of the twelve townhouses is organised over three storeys, anchored around a central staircase and bathroom core built using large clay blocks.

On the ground floor is a garage, entrance hall and living, kitchen and dining area, while above are two floors of bedrooms.

Interior image of the timber-lined living spaces at Twelve Houses
Each townhouse is spread across three storeys

On the first floor, the rear bedroom overlooks a double-height area of the living room from a wooden balcony, while on the top floor two bedrooms on either side of a landing space open onto a balcony and terrace framed by the brick grid of the facade.

The CLT structure has been left exposed throughout the walls, floors and ceilings of the interior living areas, contrasted by the reddish-brown tones of the bathroom and the brick-paved terrace spaces.

A contrasting concrete floor was used to finish the ground floor, with pine used for window frames and the large sliding doors into the bedrooms and bathrooms.

On the exteriors, the windows, garage, entrance and balconies have all been designed to fit within the same, simple gridded geometry, finished with a cladding of red brickwork with oversized mortar joints.

Interior image of a wood-lined living area with a sofa and book case at Twelve Houses
The building’s CLT structure was left exposed throughout the homes

Balustrades, external window sills and the parapet have all been finished in galvanised steel, as well as the drainpipes which channel water down to a series of gardens at the rear of the three housing blocks.

“The composition of the facades is the same on the front and back of the houses; six openings of the same width covering three levels, aligning vertically and horizontally,” explained the practice.

“The functions of the openings vary – window, garage, doors, terrace – and the simple form gets a varied programming. Everyday life turns the rational specific.”

Image of a brick enclosed terrace with sun loungers pictured from the interior
Materials were chosen for their contrasting qualities

Förstberg Ling is an office for architecture and design founded in 2015 in Malmö, Sweden.

Previous projects by the practice include the conversion of a former blacksmith’s workshop in Stockholm into a family home, as well as the design of a home for founder Björn Förstberg’s mother that is clad in corrugated aluminium.

Photography is by Markus Linderoth.

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