This 600 square foot summer cottage is a guest cabin and owner's retreat. Perched high on a granite ridge, the cabin has panoramic views of high latitude forest and lake Saimaa in Eastern Finland. The client wanted a new cabin to be part of his legacy for his children and growing brood of grandchildren. The new space needed sleeping capacity and entertainment area to complement existing log structures on a remote site. Our goal was to create a space to sleep, gather, and play, that brings together old and new generations.
The double height living room pulls the outside in with over-sized operable windows on the north and south. The interior reveals the untreated, tactile finish of pine log walls and bare roof rafters. The living room is a voluminous indoor/outdoor space that shelters you from the elements and mosquitoes while allowing you to enjoy the breeze and warmth of the sun. This main space connects to a loft through a slotted floor. The whimsical loft feels like a tree house; it is a perfect place to hide and read a book. Generously sized bedrooms bookend the living space to the east and west, each with a picture window to the site.
High care was taken to preserve the beauty of the site. The materials palette blends with the natural surroundings. The exterior is treated with iron oxide, a treatment which accelerates the natural graying process of wood. The vertical screening filters light and echoes the tall nature of the forest. Wooden walkways follow the contours of the landscape, providing a path to the cabin while keeping the surrounding nature untouched.
The decision to pursue a log structure was made very early in the design process. The client wanted all of the materials to be sourced from Finland where wood is an abundant, renewable resource. The two existing structures on the site were built with traditional, round logs. Log construction meant that most of the fabrication happened off site with the logs craned into place over minimal post foundations. This minimized construction damage to the site and reduced the amount of pollutants that went into the air and water.
Protecting the exterior from the elements required satisfying the client brief and detailed coordination with the log manufacturer. All of the components had to serve both aesthetic and practical concerns. The strategically placed wood screening on the east, south, and west facades blocks direct light in the locations where sun exposure is the greatest. The darker, north facing logs are left bare to maximize air circulation. The vertical screening filters light, gives the cabin pleasant visual proportions, while also improving the building performance.
The cabin combines traditional forms and materials with contemporary systems and details to create an instantly recognizable summer cabin that is functionally and aesthetically modern. In contrast to cozy and dark log cabins, the new cabin is voluminous and filled with light. The gable roof form and log walls are common in Finnish cabins, while the details, volume, and quality of light are unexpected.