Rantakylä Normal School
- 16.8 km
A Finnish technology entrepreneur who has settled down in Silicon Valley, California wished to commission the construction of a guest house on his family’s farm located in Kontionlahti, North Karelia, Finland. He asked his friend Kivi Sotamaa and his sister Tuuli Sotamaa, who run a joint design agency Ateljé Sotamaa, to design the building.
The unusual, dark, wood-framed building in a relatively open place cannot but attract attention. It could remind an observer of the ice age that left behind lots of different glacial erratics on the Finnish soil, some of them peculiarly shaped.
The structure known as the Meteorite hides behind its walls such traditional things as a living room, kitchen, bathroom and other living spaces. In the middle of the building there is an open indoor space over 10 metres high. On the upper part of the space, at seven metres high, a net has been stretched over the space like in a catamaran. This solution devised in confined spaces, also used in Japanese residential buildings, allows the residents to lounge. It is also believed to stimulate creative thinking.
Carefully cut CLT elements also enable using nearly frameless windows. One of these, the ten-square-metre “skylight” diverts guests’ gazes towards the space and allows them to marvel at the wandering clouds, the starry sky and sometimes even the polar lights.
Kivi Sotamaa highlights that the project involved brand-new thinking: the ways we use different spaces can be modified according to changing needs and demands. The design process has utilised new digital solutions and the construction has applied novel prefabrication and construction technology.
The aim has been to use ecological materials and ensure that the area connected to the ground is small: the building has a small basal area, gets wider on its upper floors and then narrower again, culminating in the large skylight. Avoiding plastics and equivalent multilayer solutions was an important goal for the designers.