Four-cornered holiday villa on a lakeside in sparsely populated Pirkanmaa in Finland restricts its palette to black to meet the dark forest and white to melt into the winter snow
Virrat in the Pirkanmaa region of southern Finland lies around 180 miles north of Helsinki. Dotted with small inland lakes, the area has a population density of less than 6 people per km2 and offers a particular experience of remoteness. It was here that Ville Hara and Anu Puustinen of Avanto Architects, now noted as designer of the much-published 2016 Löyly public sauna in Hernesaari, decided to build their own four-cornered villa and sauna.
The cabin sits in one of these lakes, on a horseshoe-shaped promontory with wide lake views to the north, east and south and dense forest to the immediate west. The simple staggered cruciform, 78m2 plan offers sunlight in the kitchen area in the morning, in the dining space during the day and in the living room at sunset. To the north is a compact bedroom. This is a space of oppositions, with black-stained timber on the outside counterpointed by white-stained planks running across all internal surfaces and over its deep-set terraces, which prevent it from overheating in the summer.
Highly insulated, the cabin is carbon neutral, heated with stoves using timber cut from the woods. There is no running water and electricity is created with rooftop PV panels. As it is used during summer months, vegetables and herbs are grown and harvested on site and fish can be caught directly from the Vaskivesi Lake; from where, if you look back to the shoreline from your boat, the cabin dissolves into the darkness of the forest behind it.
Avanto Architects with Jan-Carlos Kucharek