Fireplace and architecture

Fireplace and architecture

We talked to architect Sissil Morseth Gromholt in architecture agency Pushak about the significance of the fireplace in our homes. Even if heating of houses and cabins is a necessity in our corner of the world, the fireplace can also be a source of enjoyment.

Sissil Morseth Gromholt

Sissil Morseth Gromholt

Architect and partner in Pushak AS

  • Started architecture agency Pushak together with three other architects in i 2008.
  • Pushak has won several open architectural competitions, been nominated for international awards for young architects, designed an installation for London Festival of Architecture and was invited to participate in the competition for two city blocks in Bispevika, Oslo.
  • Sissil was a guest writer about architecture in Dagbladet Søndag and industry magazine Arkitektur N and has been external examiner for diploma cadidates at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway.

In what way does architecture and fireplaces go together?

- Traditionally the fireplace was an important feature in architecture. Today, architects are also increasingly interested in working with energy and hence, the fireplace's contribution to a warm and healthy climate for the body. The fireplace is usually brought up early on in the process when working with residential homes. There is a lot of focus on saving energy with technical solutions today, but in Pushak we are more focused on first producing smart architecture and structures. 

The heat that we get from wood stoves and fireplaces is a different type of heat. It is more immediate and physical.


What properties do you look for when choosing and developing a fireplace?

- One important aspect is the visibility of the fireplace and the flames – from where in the home you can view the fire. In this way, the fireplace establishes important terms for the shape of the room and how the space is utilised and furnished. At the moment, we are working on a cabin at Hafjell, Norway, where the fireplace featuring an insert from Jøtul is central to the design of the cabin. The fireplace turned out to be a room dividing element and we eventually moved the opening of the fireplace so that it could be viewed from the dining room as well. The fireplace and the surroundings shape each other.

How do you choose materials for the fireplace or the wood stove?

- At Pushak we have a thing for cast iron. When you touch a cast iron door, it has a completely different weight to it and a different sound than other materials. Not only does it retain heat differently and provides great heat radiation, it gives you a good feeling when you touch it as well. 

What is so special about heat that is produced by a fireplace?

- The heat from a wood stove or fireplace is a different kind of heat than what you would get from electrical heat. It is more immediate and physical – perhaps it appeals to the basic instict in us? Since we don't have fur like animals, we can feel the heat directly on our skin – a heat that we associate with comfort, being together and tranquility.