Architect Johnny Andersson on living close to nature




How do we find a better balance in life? What are the best ways to build environmentally friendly homes that makes us feel good - and how can we live closer to nature and at the same time enjoy the city? Swedish architect Johnny Andersson takes a holistic approach to building, farming and living – celebrating diversity and a simple way of life. Eight years ago he bought a piece of land with his wife Ina to explore a new way of living, which made more sense to them. This came to change their life work balance completely. ”We wanted to live closer to nature and to ourselves, and eventually this gave birth to Osprey farm,” Andersson explains. Today Osprey farm has developed into a modern, sustainable farm covering ten hectares with key biotopes: water, forest, grassland and the farming area of just under one hectare. Here he explains in his own words.


Strängnäs, Sweden
Owners: Johnny Andersson, architect and co founder of Jordens Arkitekter, and Ina M Andersson, visual educator and ceramicist.

Architects: Jordens Arkitekter

Concept: Raw Ark, a concept developed by Jordens Arkitekter, to push a sustainable and holistic architecture. 



Johnny Andersson

Charlie Drevstam

”We were looking for a place to try out all the ideas that we had discussed during our life together. Our children had left home and we were ready for a new phase in life. We dreamt of a living space and studio that could speak to all our senses, and we wanted to live a more self-sufficient and circular life, with a holistic perspective. As an architect I was also interested in developing a house that enabled this, and that was sustainable on every level. Two years earlier we had started to develop a "lifestyle home" at my architecture practice. We had named it Raw Ark, inspired by concepts such as “farm to table" and the raw food movement, which is all about the love of artisan produced vegetables that are locally organically grown and processed. Applying the same ideas to architecture, we wanted to to peel away everything that wasn’t absolutely necessary, and make the raw materials visible. We wanted Raw Ark to be a manifest for craft, the kind of luxury that values the low-key and simple. The dream of the simple life is not about convenience but about space for wonder. Nature is a fantastic web of life that takes place on so many different levels and has evolved over billions of years. We wanted to nurture this. 

For some time we had sensed a growing interest in a a more sustainable, holistic lifestyle which of course included how and where the house was built. It was with this client and market in mind that we created Raw Ark initially. Together with a partner we developed a concept for building houses in solid wood, based on the material CLT, cross-laminated timber. Raw Ark was of course a natural connection to the piece of land that we had bought, and where we came to develop Osprey Farm and studio. I wanted to push the boundaries to fully understand the technical limitations. I wanted to combine high-tech and low-tech in order to build a contemporary log house made entirely of solid wood and designed as a response to the urban man's longing for nature and tranquility. 

Many of us live hectic city lives, but long for more peace and quiet, and for nature. In the wake of this, more and more people want a place to retreat, a refuge in nature, that is still fairly close to the city centre. A place where we can enjoy, relax and experiment with things that interests us. Our own solid wooden house is located on wooden pillars on the slope with a view of the landscape and Lake Mälaren. The pillars both anchor and release the building from nature as the landscape continues under the house's column hall and the slope of the roof follows the slope of the land, which is covered with vegetation intertwined with the surroundings, a respect for claimed land. The house is like a tree, anchored and built for a long life. Our mission is twofold: to encourage building in wood, and to highlight craftsmanship. To us it’s a place where we can connect reason and feeling, body and soul. A life close to nature sharpens the senses, and sharpened senses give life depth.”

A full article on Osprey Farm, written by Anders Bergmark, is published in the first issue of The New Era Magazine. To purchase your copy press HERE

"We believe in trying to create greater understanding between city and country. The dynamics between them can make both better."