Second homes - another life in suburbia. A study on architectural design and cultural ideals related to Danish "summerhouses"

Claus Bech-Danielsen, Kirsten Gram-Hansen


This article focuses on second homes in Denmark - the 'summerhouses'. The objective is to gain an understanding of the concept and the basic qualities of summerhouses. First we describe the concept of second homes and summer-houses as a modern phenomenon. After this follows a description of the cultural
background of the historical development of second homes and Danish summerhouses, and we point out that the architectural ideals of the summer-houses as well as the planning concept of the summerhouse-areas have been based on the same ideals that are found in the 20th century suburban housing areas: Summerhouses are the uncompromising version of the modern house, and summerhouse-areas can be considered as another version of the modern suburb. In this light our intentions is to find out, what specific qualities and what alternatives to everyday life, are sought in a Danish summerhouse? Why do people - living their everyday life in a detached house in a suburban area - travel back and forth to a summerhouse in 'the other suburb' in weekends and holidays?

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