Location: Ersholmen, Hiittinen archipelago, Finland
Year of completion: 1995
Gross area: 170 m²
Volume: 515 m³
The site is a naturally beautiful, already inhabited island on the Hiittinen inner archipelago. There is an open seascape to the south towards Galtarna islands, at the west end of Hangö Västra sea area. The residents wanted to be able to experience the natural environment of the islands, weather and changing seasons as authentically as possible. Thus, for example, there was no attempt to follow the normal island practice of seeking the most sheltered site available.
When building on an island out in the sea, the landscape and natural environment must be carefully protected while the unique site and situation are turned to good account. The artefact is gently planted and rooted into the delicate organism, as if becoming part of it.
The choice of external materials was for the most part obvious: the wooden frame, board facing, a wall made partially of stones obtained from the site, and the roof of green copper merging into the branches. The grey tint of the board facing was inspired by rock cuttings and their lichens. The coating is wholly nontoxic and based on natural wax. In the yard, in order to spare the rock flora, the enclosed recreational areas and paths take the form of boarded terraces and bridges.
Interior is for the most part made of wood: the walls of white glazed, broad deal board; the floors of bleached, very broad Douglas fir planks; the kitchen fixtures of maple. The floor of the entrance is made of quartzite slab and the fireplace masonry of stone taken from the site. In terms of scale, the more important filigrees used are the boat cables with their blocks and rigging screws used in the railings, a little stainless steel netting, hemp rope around the only steel pillar, and some wooden lathing.
Nature, exterior and interior merge into each other through the agency of the large glass surfaces, canopies and terraces. The dwelling areas are organised into parts through the varying heights of the rooms and the differences in level, which follow the terrain. The upstairs sauna and bedroom open towards the upper terrace, and the views over Galtarna to the Bengtskär lighthouse. Seen from the sea, the building disappears into the branches of the pines on the rock face. The architecture is the result of a lengthy, highly developed dialogue, in which the roles of the professional designer and the user overlap. Particularly in the interior, the will and spirit of the residents are clearly manifested.