Between the rock and the cliff
When their daughters had moved away from home, the parents, a couple in their forties, started looking for a site. They had a vision of building a home just for the two of them.
The perfect site revealed itself in Spjutsund, Sipoo, on the ragged, rocky coast of the Baltic Sea. The 0,57 ha site, just a 45 minute drive from Helsinki, had a bit of everything: a small stretch of shoreline, steep bedrock cliffs, a small brook, some wetland, and a fairy tale mossy forest. A small red cabin stood on the highest spot, overlooking the steep cliff.
It was clear right away that the new house should be built on the same spot as the original cabin. However, a big rock on one side and the cliff on the other, together with the handsome rhododendrons below, did not leave too much room for play. As has been the custom in Finland throughout history, it was decided to build the sauna first. That way there was a place to stay and get acquainted with the site and its nature. When the architects came into the picture, the sauna was already there, and the clients had developed a strong relationship with their site.
The clients asked for a house with natural, rough materials, and wished that the building be built of pre-cast concrete elements. The evening sun and sea view to the west and north-west were the starting point of the layout. The building volume rises up from the wide, welcoming stairs at the front, to meet up with the high trees that flank the sunny opening highest up on the site. Some recesses were cut in the compact outer volume of the building, forming protected nooks on different sides of the house. By twisting the volume in the middle, a cosy atrium-like yard was formed on the east side of the house, protected from the often harsh winds of the Baltic Sea.
The program on the inside is simple, the main floor housing the main living spaces, consisting of the living and dining room, an open kitchen, a small study and bathroom. A stair with massive oak steps rises up to the tiny mezzanine, which functions as the main bedroom. Both the study and mezzanine have big glazed sliding doors opening to a terrace with a sea view. From the living room a sliding door opens to the morning sun and the spacious wooden terrace on the forest side.
The building sits on the edge of the rock, the basement floor being visible on the north side. The compact sauna, storage space, small gym and the technical spaces are situated on this lower level.
The carpenter-made stairs and cabinets, together with the birch veneer ceiling, add warmth to the ascetic and rough concrete surfaces. The economical scale of the spaces also contributes to the cosy character of the house. The design process was carried out in close collaboration with the client, and taking at all times into consideration the site and its special characteristics.
In collaboration with Ettala Palomeras Architects Oy.
125 m2 + basement and garage
Fixed furniture and wooden doors: Punavuoren Puuhevonen
photos: Tiia Ettala
Vuoden Betonirakenne 2018 ehdokas