- Architects: Carla Gertz
- Location: Savitaipale, Finland
- Area: 105.0 m2
- Project Year: 2017
“The Finnish affinity with nature demands a counterbalance to the everyday apartment: the summer cottage or Mökki. It is quite true to say the Finnish live their real life in their cottage.” – Tapio Periäinen, director of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design
The Finnish term “Mökki” describes a small cottage by the lake – a quiet retreat surrounded only by nature. Without luxury, reduced to the essential the Mökki traditionally links the urban everyday life to the rural closeness with nature. Far away from civilization at the end of a multi-hour trip from Helsinki lies the Mökki Santara. It is a peaceful place, embedded in the heart of Karelia amidst the endless wilderness of forests and lakes.
Following traditional spatial concepts, the Mökki divides the functions living and cleaning into two separate volumes. Slightly elevated on a connecting platform these volumes open to the southwest, overviewing Lake Santara. The simple, archetypal buildings offer a unique and contemporary interpretation of the Mökki typology. In its closed state, the volumes appear as black, archaic monoliths. The interior contrasts the outward appearance with a light and warm flowing sequence of rooms. White and untreated wooden surfaces divide the kitchen, living and sleeping area into different zones. The exclusive use of regional and sustainable materials emphasizes the site-specific approach. The spruce timber for the Mökki was sourced and dried on location and now provides for the comforting atmosphere, even when it is -30° C outside.
The prefabrication of the supporting construction elements, as well as the windows, doors and built-in furniture, made it possible to complete the construction of the Mökki Santara in only 8 weeks by a finely tuned team of craftsmen. The beveled siding of the timber frame walls continues on the roof, creating a fifth facade with hidden waterproofing beneath. “Invisible” details such as flush mount sheds and the seamless transition of verge and eaves support the clean, elegant and abstract form of the Mökki. This precise detailing is reflected on the inside as furniture and construction merge. The result of this cautious yet somehow natural approach to design and construction: a gentle architecture for a quiet scenery.