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Finnish Architectural Review 3/2017: small scale, summer cottages, basics of architecture

The summer issue of the Finnish Architectural Review presents summer cottages and other buildings of small scale. Also the theories of the 1960s, which at the time explored new routes for Finnish architecture, are brought to light.

Spending time at the summer cottage is at the core of the Finnish way of life. Travelling to the cottage and staying there transports the mind away from daily routines. Proximity to wild nature is an essential part of relaxing and being active at the cottage. Breaking away from the hectic pace of life and hard work, we allow ourselves a certain freedom and playfulness. This has also influenced the way the cottages themselves are designed, perhaps making similar allowances – often innovative ideas first appear in small houses.

To avoid spending hours in the car driving to our summer cottage, we can always choose urban cottages, for which Arkkitehti offers a wealth of new ideas. Architects Mauricio Pezo and Sofìa von Ellrichshausen, who live and work in Chile, have achieved worldwide fame with their small-scale buildings. In their column, they discuss the summer cottage as a phenomenon. It is “a space in between; a place to depart and return, to go back and forth, in and out, from reality to fiction, from artifice to nature, from art to life”. The latest Arkkitehti introduces summer cottages and other small-scale buildings. While the designs reveal widely differing approaches, they all have one main factor in common: they all have a relationship with the landscape.

One of the summery buildings introduced in the issue is the new public sauna on the island of Lonna, which is designed by Anssi Lassila / OOPEAA and built in the traditional way from solid log. The return to traditional brick and log structures has been seen as one way to build in a healthy, sustainable way. Architect Juulia Mikkola argues in her article that, with modern complex structures and the exponentially increasing number of different materials available, we are creating buildings that can easily go wrong. They have a short life-cycle and cause health problems to their users.

The first experiments on solid structures have been carried out in small buildings. In the 1960s, a small architectural journal published by Finnish architects, Le Carré Bleu, set out to explore new routes for architecture. Rather than promote new building technology, its quest was to combine theory and design. The ideas of Aulis Blomstedt, Keijo Petäjä and Reima Pietilä are now gaining renewed momentum.

Arkkitehti 3/2017

About Miina Jutila