Heikki and Kaija Siren Own house and studio

Source: Heikki and Kaija SirenRe-drawing : Anna BadiaLocation: Lauttasaari, Helsinki, FinlandYear: 1951Originally Posted: 21.07.2023
Date: December 23, 2023 Category: Archive, Classic

The Siren Villa, Kaija y Heikki Siren’s house and office, is located in Lauttasaari, an island situated to the west of Helsinki, Finland, with dense vegetation and an architecture made up of isolated buildings. The house is hidden in this immense forest, facing the sea and opening itself to the south, in a courtyard that is protected from the sea wind. The building mimicks the sloping roofs of the near traditional structures, an essential in the finnish weather.

The Siren Villa was built gradually, little by little, as their studio and family grew. Thus, the house wasn’t projected with its final form, it took shape to meet the owners’ needs at each moment. The central courtyard is a clear example, since it is formed from the void the four volumes leave, each one built in a different year. In 1951, it was built the first part, which only consisted of the house and a studio with a small number of tables. In 1956 it was added another volume of the studio, with more tables and a sauna; and finally in 1960 it was built the last volume, which contained a meeting room and a kitchen. The building desappears from the street behind the to two side walls, from the exact same height of the house-studio.

The office assumes a lower role in relation to the house, since the office’s façade is blind facing the courtyard, and opens itself up in the outside, to give more privacy to the house. We also see this relationship between the two pieces in section, since the office volume is half-buried in the ground to disappear and give rise to a sea view from the courtyard. The textures of the materials take more importance in the inside, rather than in the outside. The smooth façade appears plastered in white and crowned by a metal sheet, at the same time as we discover in the inside the texture of the brick, also painted in white, and a ceiling made up of stips of wood, which gives the house an idyllic confort

When we see the building in axonometry we can easily identify four volumes, since each of them has a differenciated roof. The courtyard appears as a result of the position of these volumes, and was not projected initially as it is now. The house is oriented to the sea views, but at the same time receives the south light through the courtyard. The topographic descent to the sea causes the studio to be lower than the house, establishing thus a hierarchy between these
two. The two walls next to the house give the building a certain privacy, avoiding the view from the street, leaving the house-studio absolutely hidden in a dense forest.

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