Villa Andersen


January 2017

They used to make fun of me, standing in this awkward corner of the plot, neglecting the alignment of all the other houses. You are strange and acting like your something special with your position in the sun. And then that roof and the materials that form your walls, you do not belong here and you will probably not stand the conditions we face with each changing season. They will neglect you, and if you are not taken care of you will be quickly forgotten and demolished,I was told by the neighbouring houses.

Yet here I still stand, enjoying the sun and looking out over my garden. The many seasons and different owners have left their traces upon me, but neglected or forgotten I am not. And since I am still in my original shape and layout, the neighbouring houses have accepted me likewise.

I am regretful for the man that situated me here, in the upmost norther corner of the plot, do not think I will ever forget him. Tall, blond and always full of joy. Rumour has it that he brought a pair of wooden toys to the plot, showing Mr Willy Andersen, my first inhabitant, how he envisioned me standing here.

Since Mr Andersen was restricted by a state loan, he was easily convinced of building together these alternative and modern materials. Eternit, rock wool, plasterboard, wood, brick and most of all glass, characterise me. And yes, I do need a regular paint job and yes, some of my wooden elements have been replaced, but hey, that was not my fault.

It was my second inhabitant, Vibeke Dalsgaard, who enjoyed me for who I am, yet appeared to have more eye for the garden and the surrounding landscape than for me and my condition. Still I do not blame her, since she created a magnificent garden around me. A diversity of plants and trees that, together with the seasons, change their colour and structure. She used us as a testing ground for her project ideas in Paris and the like, creating a fantastic environment we still enjoy today.

With we, I refer to myself and my current inhabitants. They had an eye for me from early on, and it was love at first sight when they moved in. Her father, Aksel Bender Madsen knew this tall and blond architect, they even studied together in Copenhagen. Aksel helped them with bringing me back in shape and he added a small shed which looks just like me on the northern side of the plot. His metropolitan chair and other mock-ups filled my interior. An interior that transcends into the garden, creating a dialogue between myself and the plot I am situated on.

Carrying over 60 years of dwelling experience, I have seen inhabitants come and go, adapt and respond to the initials ideas of this architect,  still young then. Yes, the bathroom next to the entrance is a little inconvenient, and I am not as big as contemporary friends. But blame that on the rather small budget I was built with. Despite these restrictions I believe that I still own some spatial qualities and characteristics that are timeless and that were not affected by any budgetary limitations.

These observations stem from a study trip to the early houses of the Danish architect Jørn Utzon. Between 1953 and 1957 he designed and realised about 15 modest family homes within Denmark. These dwellings and the adaptations they received over the years form the topic of my current research. Apart from studying the architecture, I conducted a research into the autobiographies of the houses, of which many have interesting narratives and inhabitants over the years. 

Mr. Willy Andersen, the initial client, was an upholsterer and able to build to original house with a state loan from the Danish government. 

Vibeke Dalsgaard, landscape architect and former professor at the university in Lund (SE), who frequently worked with Sven Ingvar Andersen, became the second owner of the house. 

Current and third owners are kept private, but as said, one of them is the daughter of Aksel Bender Madsen, the Danish architect and furniture designer. 


Mark Proosten