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My son Erik and his wife Eka had a vision of building a “Norwegian loft” of this
type. The “Vangestad”-loft in Flesberg, Numedal (from the book “Stav och Laft,” page
103, Oslo 1990.)
2. The loft has a core of timber that’s surrounded by extended galleries on the upper
floor. In this model, the stairs up to the second floor is located in the uninsulated
3. The lower floor consists of a timber frame that Erik hewed from leftover timber
from the construction of the main house. It has been standing without a roof since it
was built on site in 2010.
4. Traditionally they use standing poles for the foundation (as can be seen in picture
#1), but here we used massive stones instead.

5. The upper row of logs is taken down and here you can see the construction of the
upper floor using the pole method of construction. The upper frame is being built
using the lower frame as a “template”.
6. 12 logs are cut in one go while Erik is making floor joists with brackets and
7. May 14. The first day’s work ends with erecting the poles. You can see we added
some improvised rain protection on top of the poles.
8. The upper framework is in place. What’s missing is the diagonal studs, nail studs
and the water boards (also called sacrificial boards because you “sacrify” them by
letting them lead away the rainwater instead of exposing the foundation to rain.)
9. May 19. All diagonal studs in place. Two firs were cut down for timber for the roof
beams and and rafters. Now we’ll let the pole frame dry until the end of July.
10. July 23. Roof beams in place, water boards on the lower frame along with nail
studs. Nail studs and water boards for the uppermost logs are constructed when we
dismantle the frame.

11. July 24. Building help from Switzerland, Christoff, and Erik insulates the log
construction with moss in preparation for placing the top layer of logs that will
connect with the upper floor.
12. July 25. Heatstroke is not far off with 30 degree heat. 08.53 in the morning.
13. The sill frame is in place on the extended floor joists.

14. After one day’s hard work in the heat the pole framework is in place. Before
assembly the poles and studs have been treated with a mix of 1/3 pine tar, 1/3 raw
linseed oil and 1/3 turpentine (turpentine helps the oil and tar penetrate into the
wood), for protection against rain and moisture.
15. The Norwegian “looks” is starting to show.
16. July 26. The big challenge in this build was to lift the two large roof beams. The
lifting machine just barely reached the lower sill frame, and from there we had to use
a one-ton chain block the rest of the way. The chain block was fastened to two
rafters that was locked with big screws to an A-frame as shown in the picture.

17. The A-frame was fastened against think planks. In the final phase of the lifting a
manual lift was needed to get the roof beam into its final position on the second
pole. Luckily we were three people on site.
18. Long evening when the final rafter was lifted into place.
19. We finished the evening with a “roof ridge-celebration” where we sat and
admired the build.

20. July 29, 07:53. One side of the roof was set up the previous day. We had a table
saw on the upper floor that we used to cut the tongue and groove planks continually
while two men nailed them into place.
21. July 29, 17:16. Erik nails the lower edge of the roofing felt into place, while using
safety harness and line.
22. Sheeting set up all around the upper floor with panel nailed into place on two of
the four walls. Very think planks used as scaffolding.

23. The build is almost weather proof now that the triangular openings between the
trusses have been covered with sheeting.
24. Window openings have been covered and the loft will stay as it is until next
summers building period. The front window opening is complete with plastic
covering and a ladder is in place where the wooden stairs will eventually be. The
entry vestibule where the ladder is will be built in and covered using the same pole
construction technique as the upper floor.

What does a traditional Norwegian ‘loft’ look

We don’t have to speculate what lofts used to look like, because there are really old
ones still standing today. The loft you see below is over 700 years old and counting:
Beautiful, isn’t it? It’s the Sondre Tveito ‘loft’ from Telemark, Norway and today it
stands in the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo. This particular house was part of a
larger farm in Telemark in the Middle Ages. It has a runic inscription dating it to

Houses like this one is a living testament to the longevity and beauty of wood.

Example of Trønderlåne in Oppdal

The method of wood stave construction evolved over several hundred years in Norway, reaching
their apex with the stave churches in the 13th century in Norway and into the 14th century in

Stave construction lent itself well to building the earlier large, multipurpose houses. more

the 20th century, most Norwegians lived and worked in buildings that were designed and built
according to vernacular building traditions, what in Norwegian is known as byggeskikk. These
practices varied somewhat by region and climatic conditions and evolved over time, but were largely
based on use of wood and other locally available resources.[27]

Since the Middle Ages, most dwellings were log houses with notched corners, carefully crafted to
ensure protection against the elements. Centrally placed open-hearth fires with smoke vents in the
roofs gave way to stone stoves and chimneys in early modern times. Specialized buildings became
commonplace, organized around farmyards or gårdstun. The introduction of exterior boarding
(weatherboarding) in the 18th century improved housing standards considerably and gave rise to
larger houses.

Building practices along the coast also included boathouses, fishing cottages, piers, etc. Here, houses
for livestock and people were typically built up from the actual shoreline. A typical medium-sized
farm in the inland of Norway would include a dwelling house (våningshus), hay barn (låve), livestock
barn (fjøs), one or more food storage houses (stabbur), a stable, and occasionally separate houses
for poultry, pigs, etc. Houses that had separate heat sources, e.g., washing houses (eldhus) and
smithies were usually kept separate from the other houses to prevent fires. Outhouses were
typically separate, small structures. If the farm housed craftsmen, there would also be separate
houses for carpentry, wheel making, shoemaking, etc.

In Eastern inland Norway and Trøndelag, the houses around a tun were typically organized in a
square (firkanttun); in Gudbrandsdal, there was a distinction between inntun (inner tun) and uttun
(outer tun). The configuration of houses also depended on whether the farm was situated on a hill
or in flatter terrain.

Depending upon the size and economic well-being of the farm, there might also be a feast hall
(oppstue), a house for the retired farmers (føderådstue), farm hands' dormitory (drengstue),
carriage house (vognskjul), and even distillery (brenneskur). Smaller, poorer farms might combine
barns and dwelling houses, have simpler storage areas, and use the facilities of other farms for
activities they could not afford to build houses for.

Building traditions varied by region and type of structure. Food storage houses - stabbur - were
usually built on stilts in ways that made it difficult for mice and rats, but not cats, to get in. Exterior
cladding varied by region, often to take into account local climate conditions. Roofs were often
covered with birch bark and sod.

Many places in Norway farms also maintained mountain farms (seter/støl), where cows, goats, and
sheep would put out to pasture during the summer months. These would typically include a small
dwelling house and a dairy for making and storing cheese, sour cream, etc.

Modern Norwegian farms often maintain many building traditions but no longer need the many and
varied buildings of the past. However, many of the traditions have been carried on in more recently
built vacation cabins in the mountains and along the coast.

20th-century architecture

The German influence brought into Norway by neo-classicism abated when Norway gained full
independence in 1905. A new generation of Norwegian architects educated in Sweden took the lead
in developing a distinctly national architecture, endeavouring to break the German historicist
tradition. However, German modernism and town planning continued to influence early 20th-
century architecture. As the Norwegian Institute of Technology was founded in 1910 and began to
teach architecture in Trondheim, there also emerged a distinctly Norwegian collegium of architects
that has contributed to a Norwegian regional architecture, discussed by the art historian Sigfried

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