Images Copyright: © Pekka Helin


TeamPekka Helin, Ritva Mannersuo
LocationGullkrona Archipelago, Finland
AwardSingle Family Houses Through the Ages 2012 - winner, World Architecture Festival 2011 Awards - shortlisted, Green Planet Architects Award 2013
DescriptionIn springtime, birdsong proclaims the end of the severe winter. Warm midsummer days are filled with the scent of pine and juniper. Autumn gales drive the waves over the rocks and gradually the sea freezes to form abstract shapes of drifting ice. Finally, the snow covers everything. The villa was built to experience all this as a counterpoint to hectic city life.

The island has many pines, junipers and open rocks that we wanted to preserve. The prevailing wind directions affected the planning in many ways, and in summer homes sheltered outdoor living spaces are important. We wanted to retain the wide, open views out to the sea from the interior as well.

The outline of the building is a rough abstraction of the rock formations with its varied colours and glaciated grooves. The house sits low as not to stand out too much from the landscape; it subordinates itself to the context, camouflages itself. The spaces are oriented towards the summer sunset, not directly to the south. The fan shape adapts to the sun´s path, and there are always sunny, sheltered spots to be found at different times during the day. The boarded decks mark out the area for active human wear. Larch, which naturally weathers silvery grey, clads the exterior, while sedum changes from green to brown on the roof during the summer. Exposed fans of laminated beams and columns form the structure. Inside, cladding is warm pine with paler ash flooring, making a welcoming cave in the wilderness.

Building in the archipelago is not without its difficulties. Everyday things such as transportation of materials and the builders´ travel to work can be very troublesome. The frames were transported to the site by helicopter and there is no electricity on the island. Nevertheless, the construction went well. The local carpenters were skilled and cooperative. Skill was needed, too, as the house has many oblique surfaces.
Start date01-07-2010
Area Units.q.m.
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