Chamfer House

Designing for Lahemaa National Park is a challenge for architects as it is a place where the sense of community and passion for heritage protection are high and the appropriateness of new buildings in the regional and local context is under close scrutiny. Modern architecture is hailed only in cases where it does not highlight contrast but fits in with the historically developed housing structure and milieu while interpreting it in contemporary light. The summer house designed by PART architects will settle in the village environment on the site of a former granary and approach the tradition by means of geometry.

The term “bevel” – the surface created by cutting off the sharp edge – characterises a geometric operation by which an archetypal gable roof building transforms into a modeled cocoon. The cocoon, in turn, characterises the minimum space needed for life, which a summer house should actually be all about. The building is meant for summer use and thus there is no insulation. Then again, knowing what Estonian summers are like, it must be occasionally heated and the spherical geometry serves the given function best – the maximum volume with the minimum external surface. When looking for an appropriate solution for the local environment, it was attempted to find morphological balance between a spherical form and Käsmu building leading to a method for combining the different geometries. The outcome is a multifaceted object with the road-facing side relying on a more traditional gabled roof solution while the form gets somewhat more abundant on the other side providing the residents with cosiness and privacy. The overall volume forms an integrated whole – the various sides are diverse manifestations of the same geometrical system. This way we can transfer from one state to another – the geometric cantellation allows to make the phases of geometric development visible with seamless transitions. The building has a concrete and fly ash brick strip foundation and cast floors. The bearing structures, walls and roof are made of cross-laminated timber panels resulting in a building where the roof cannot be separated from the wall. The modern interior consists of natural polished concrete, white panel walls and built-in plywood furniture. The cantellated geometry allows the creation of poché spaces or filled in areas in the wall for integrating technology and fixtures. The glass façade includes double doors that can be opened, also the kitchen windows can be opened allowing the interior to be extended to the terrace for an outdoor kitchen.

Location:
Käsmu Village, Vihula Municipality,
Lääne-Viru County

Client:
private client

Scale:
75m2

Function:
private house

Architects:
Sille Pihlak and Siim Tuksam (PART)

Team:
Ivo Heinrich Arro (PART),
Reelika Reinsalu (PART)

Builder:
Peetri Puit OÜ

Project:
2017-…

Tiit Pruuli and Eno-Martin Lotman, clients:
“Käsmu Village is surrounded by the sea and the forests and boulders of Lahemaa. Constructing a new building in this national park environment requires an architect with a sensitive and demanding mind. We had seen PART architects’ plan for the new bus shelter in Käsmu. It was thrilling – the combination of tradition, harmony with nature and awesome modernity! So we selected PART architects to design our building as their attitude to timber, innovation and surroundings corresponded to our understanding of a house befitting Käsmu Village. In terms of design, we wanted the house to be practical for daily use but also visually pleasing. The new house will blend in with the coastal village while also markedly stand out.”