The Kynttilä design by Helsinki-based ORTRAUM Architects was entirely inspired by its one-of-a-kind surroundings. The Nunnanniemi peninsula is located in eastern Finland, near the Russian border, in Lake Saimaa near Savonlinna. A major portion of the area surrounding the lake is designated as a nature preserve. Building rights allow for an extra 15m2 guesthouse and meditation hut in addition to the original antique summer home and sauna. Kynttilä's location, in the heart of the natural forest on a thin arm of the peninsula, affords views of the water on all sides of the house.
The element design method meant that the forest was impacted as little as possible. Only for the assembly day, a temporary construction road was built. The forest vegetation was saved and returned to its original location as soon as the installation work was done.
Kynttilä's idea is Zen in the definition of "nothing." By reducing the material and design objective to a bare minimum, the space aims to create concentration, both aesthetically and spiritually. The proportions of the five space-enveloping pieces are equal, resulting in a tranquil space and a simple frame for the carefully chosen view of the sea.
The wide window creates direct and personal touch and dialogue with the surroundings, which firmly links the room to nature. The rhythm of the day is guided by daylight, weather, and seasons. Apart from the evident discourse, Kynttilä also builds a mental doorway to a higher plane. The framed nature image becomes an individual abstraction and thinking projection. Kynttilä sparkles as a warm light on the lakeshore at night, much like a candle.
The whole construction of the building, including the furnishings and front door, is composed of huge cross laminated timber (CLT) pieces. On the outside, the structure is coated in larch timber, while the interior is entirely made of CLT.
Photograph by Marc Goodwin.
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