Summer house for a young family in the middle of a pine forest

Lohusalu, Estonia
Client: private
Commission: 2002
Completed: 2003
200 m2

The summer house designed for a young family is located on the Lohusalu peninsula, in the middle of a pine forest on the shore of the Baltic Sea, and is surrounded by dispersed summer houses from the Soviet era. The old summer houses are notably smaller, as the size of the lots designated for summer houses was strictly regulated during the Soviet period.

This two-storey house is made up of two blocks, connected by a glass-covered gallery. One side of the house was designed to be the living quarters for the family and the other for guests and the sauna. This division made it possible to create a less imposing structure in the middle of the forest. The building rests on a wooden structure and the finishing of the exterior features waterproof plywood on the facade. On completion, the plywood was bright orange, however, over time the colour has changed and at the moment it almost matches the greyish tone of the pine bark. The entrance to the house leads through the glass gallery, into a light filled living room and open kitchen. There is also a sauna on the same floor and an office space on the first floor.  

The two bedrooms and the bathroom are in the other more private section of the house. There is a terrace on the roof of the ground floor that connects the rooms on the first floor. The design also takes the rhythm of summer living and the closeness of the forest into account, so all of the rooms of the house have their own exit.

The windows of the house almost reach from floor to ceiling and the views of the pine forest seem like elements of interior design, like large paintings. The initial design also attempted to conceptualise the landscape of the forest as an extension of the building.

Architecture competition Best wooden building in Estonia 1998-2003, Plywood Prize (the Estonian Forest and Wood Industries Association & the Union of Estonian Architects)
Estonian exposition at the 12th Architecture Biennale Venice 2011 100 houses