The client treasured the lake view of his childhood home, which was built by his father. The big white manor style house had formal rose gardens and managed lawns, which the client felt that they did not fit in to the surrounding nature. “Parousia” – rebirth of the land was inspiration for the project, with the large rose garden and accompanied lawn removed and the site restored into its original state. Forest theme was especially appropriate due the client’s father accomplished career working with forest machinery. Levelled ground was sculpted into undulating landforms with an addition of House Y, the new small and grey cabin installed on the hilltop. Paramount are the accent pines and nostalgic fire pit located at the lakeshore and were retained from the defunct garden.
The site returned into its original state yet enriched with Finnish national romanticism. Nostalgia of a childhood rose garden was added with story like feature elements such as granite embankment walls reminiscent of ancient castle walls, an ancient lake shore boulder garden reminds us of the ancient lakeshores excavated into the woodland slope. Seating stones for meditation within a planted temple of aspens next to the entrance road, additionally special varieties of common tree species were planted, such as pendulating spruce (Picea abies f. pendula). Exquisite rock formation was revealed from underneath the stripped soil, which was utilised feature in the design by a path accompanied by a damn field. Reclaimed granite kerb stones were bestowed into the moss garden adjacent to the lakeshore path, with incorporation of the existing copper lighting bollards. Behind the woodland islands at the edge of the site is located the existing garage, tennis court, boat shed and a helipad.
Tailormade functional furniture was manufactured by a local carpenter, emphasising the simplicity of local nature and lake scenery. Made from pine and left unvarnished, so they can weather naturally into a grey shade. Thick pier like timber terraces surround the house, which has openings for the accent trees and rocks, with pluralistic log benches designed to emulate the house y-shape and located at strategic vista: on the rocks next to the fire pit. Relaxing in a hammock at the water’s edge underneath a linden tree. Eye leading minimalistic gate frames the site to the lakeshore path with fencing inspired by Finnish traditional ‘dot fence’.
Vegetation consists of common Finnish species, with most of the site returned into its original state – scots pine dominant forest accompanied by forest floor shrub transplants. Site was planted with 4500no of trees of varied sizes, from 5m high to a transplant. Versatility of the habitat is enriched with native perennials planted in wetland clough, forest scenery harmonises flooding fields and trees. Species selection was based on atmospheric native perennials: strawberry, lily of the valley and wood anemone. Sheep summer grazing will be used as future site management. A fenced Potato allotments and herb gardens dividing this space from the encompassing landscape.
Main routes are undulating gravel paths and causeways, with the main entrance square paved with granite and smaller paths imprinted with granite steppingstones. All materials were natural or reclaimed, for example, the furniture was sourced and produced from unvarnished local timber, partially consisting of reclaimed old pine logs from the site. At the end of lifecycle, the untreated furniture can be recycled as a firewood or disintegrate in the forest and offering versatile wildlife refuges and habitats with refrain from using artificial materials such as plastic.
Integration of sustainability into the design was paramount for the client with all storm water being treated naturally and saturated in the ‘stone nests’ or delayed in the wetlands. Appropriate consideration of elements from the original house were reused such as the copper bollards.
Installation of astute atmospheric lighting, since the client did not want lights to reflect towards the lake or to the surrounding nature. Routes were lined with original copper bollards upgraded to led-lights. Also led-lights were added to railings on the slope. The accent pines and exposed face of the rock were highlighted with up-lighting.
Project: House Y (Parousia) private gardens
Landscape design: VSU Landscape Architects Ltd (VSU maisema-arkkitehdit Oy)
Tommi Heinonen, M.Sc Chairman of the Board, Landscape architect, MARK
Outi Palosaari, CEO, M.Sc. Architect, SAFA, M.Sc Landscape architect, MARK
Katri Nuutinen, M.Sc. Architect
Location: Iisalmi, Venakkoniemi, Lake Porovesi, Finland
House Y: Arkkitehtitoimisto Teemu Pirinen
Year: Design 2014-2016, built 2016-2017
Photographs: Outi Palosaari
Winter photographs: 1-4 Teemu Pirinen, 5 Jukka Vidgren