Inspired by an interview with film director Aki Kaurismäki, I built a miniature model of a spiral- shaped house constructed around a fireplace. I drew a plan of the house based on the miniature model. I emphasized an undivided, undefined space and placed the sauna and auxiliary areas into a separate outbuilding. I named the house Kotilo, the “Shell”.
Kotilo’s functional solution is based on what someone actually does in their home. The goal is to provide a relaxed and carefree environment for everyday activities and festive occasions. The shape of the house emphasizes the experience of space, light that alters during the day and with the changing of the seasons, smells, and the feel of materials.
The most important features of house construction by laymen are cosiness, naturalness and simplicity. Modest materials are combined with craftsmanship and the wisdom that comes from experience. I have the same goals in my own work, but as an architect my academic and theoretical approach distinguishes me from traditional house construction.
Kotilo’s wooden floor, wall and ceiling elements wind their way around a central concrete chimney and create a regular, spiral shape. The angularity formed by the straight elements was finished off with thick and thin shingles to create a curved shape. The surfaces, which are curved in two directions in some places, are covered with thick larch shingles on the outside and thin aspen shingles on the inside.
The surfaces of the house were built using traditional craftsmanship. The planning, construction engineering and interior decoration work took a total of 5,500–6,000 hours. The building costs don’t exceed the average as its complicated shape was achieved by using simple construction techniques.
Finnish Wood Award 2007
Project in brief
The Kotilo House
- Location | Espoo
- Purpose | Residential building
- Constructor/Client | Eleena and Olavi Koponen
- Architectural Design | Arkkitehtitoimisto Olavi Koponen
- Structural design | Rakennussuunnittelutoimisto Turunen & Räisänen
- Pääurakoitsija | Risto Karjalainen, Paul Kaik, Vladislav Frolov, Vladimir Malevin and Olavi Koponen and also Tarmo Piri (masonry) Kalevi Karjalainen (steelwork) and Jussi Tiainen (rebar)
- Photographs | Jussi Tiainen
- Text | Olavi Koponen