Porvoon Galaksit – a modern holiday home complex

The article has been published in June 2021 in Wood magazine 1/2021.

Read the article in Finnish: Porvoon Galaksit – moderni mökkikylä

Text: Elina Viitanen 

Lying near the seashore in the Purola neighbourhood about three kilometres from Porvoo’s centre, the Gammelbacka garden allotments are now home to a complex of seven blocks reminiscent of the Milky Way constellations. The complex has 43 holiday homes with courtyard buildings.

“In addition to a shared parking lot at the entrance, there is a playground, a community building, storage, allotments, and space for community activities near the entrance,” says Ulla Hovi, the site’s architect and chief designer.

THE HOLIDAY HOMES are prefabricated, but the courtyard and community buildings were built on site. All buildings use wood structures, laid on a pile foundation with ventilated floors. Rainwater is channelled from the roofs to a stormwater collection tank near the allotments where the water can be used for irrigation. For their own allotments, residents can choose what to plant from a list created by the landscaper.

“The idea during the architectural design phase of the project was that the surrounding nature and the new plants will grow and eventually protect residents from the wind and provide privacy for the courtyards. This means the residents will experience both privacy and community. The area is in a great location and is surrounded by a park-like area. This gives some of the holiday homes views of fields and forests, where you can look at foxes running around and listen to birds chirping,” notes Hovi.

The kitchens and living rooms integrate nature into their interior design with huge floor-to-ceiling windows. The sleeping alcoves also have a large window. The walls of the living areas have light log panels, and the kitchens have granite countertops. The sleeping areas are mainly located in the lofts. The space connected to the living room can also be made into a sleeping alcove. All the holiday homes have a fireplace. The bathrooms have electric floor heating and the living areas have a heat pump and electric radiator.

“The holiday homes were oriented to allow the terraces and big window surfaces to open mainly to the south and southwest. This is best way to get light and energy from the sun into buildings. ”

THE PLACEMENT of the buildings within the blocks and the views the buildings would create brought interesting perspectives to the design.

“Consideration had to be given to placing the buildings at different heights, to differences in yard heights, and to barrier-free access to the passageways. In addition, building placement had to account for emergency access routes, among other things. Adding block-specific colour to the buildings makes it easier to navigate the area,” says Hovi.