‘Nordic Brown will gradually age with dignity within the forest’

Nordic Brown pre-oxidised copper and larch cladding together define the natural character of a contemporary home, nestling amongst the treetops on the Island of Hirvensalo, part of the Turku archipelago in Finland.

Locally-based Sigge Architects’ design sought to reconcile their client’s need for a permanent working home combined with the essential characteristics of a Summerhouse for leisure. The Finnish Summerhouse epitomises ‘mökkielämä’ or ‘cottage life’, with its tradition of treading softly on the land and respect for nature.

Front outside view of the Villa L3 in Turku archipelago, Finland. The walls of the cottage are clad from Nordic Brown copper.

Photos: Antti Leino

First Floor Plan: courtesy of Sigge Architects

Second Floor Plan

Cross Section

Natural Materials

The three-storey building was envisaged as a deceptively simple modern structure with clean lines and a certain stature. But application of a restrained palette of natural materials enables it to sit comfortably in its elevated location within a gently sloping forest.

The new house is approached from the south. The Entrance Level contains a garage and private areas including office, bedroom, bathroom and – of course – sauna. Outside, are extensive timber-decked terraces and a swimming pool. Service areas and storage are accommodated in the Lower Level.

An open staircase leads from the entrance to the Upper Level: a fully open-plan living, cooking and dining space. Here, extensive glazing opens onto timber-decked, glass balustraded balconies to three sides. The whole Upper Level commands stunning north and west views over the neighbouring villas and trees below, towards the sea and city of Turku beyond, while also enjoying southern glazing to catch the low sun.

The Upper Level is conceived as a distinct copper-framed ‘box’ mass, oversailing the recessed Entrance Level ‘pedestal’. Here, Nordic Brown pre-oxidised copper was chosen, structured with vertical seams. It sits naturally alongside the larch batten cladding, which adds warmth, and responds to the exceptional natural surroundings. Internally, fair-faced concrete surfaces and white-washed ash have been used widely.

Ageing with Dignity

Sigge Architects CEO Pekka Mäki said: ’We have worked with Nordic Copper on other projects around Turku before. On Tys Ikituuri student housing, a 12-storey oval-plan tower, we experimented with lively abstract patterns using varying intensities of Nordic Green pre-patinated copper cassettes. But for a single-family house – Villa Vaski – we found that Nordic Brown gave a natural dark brown that was both familiar and well-suited to its surroundings. The same is true for Villa L3, where the Nordic Brown will gradually age with dignity within the forest’.

Nordic Brown provides the same oxidised brown surface that otherwise develops over time in the environment. The thickness of the oxide layer determines the colour of the surface finish, with darker or lighter (Nordic Brown Light) shades of brown. Nordic Brown gradually changes over time to a stable dark chocolate brown.   

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