The longer you study this “four-cornered villa” in Virrat, Finland, the smarter and cleverer it appears. Seen from the shore of its lake (the cabin is built on a horseshoe-shaped island), the structure blends in with the dark trees that skirt its clearing, lending a stealthy environmental camoflage to the site. And conversely, when you’re on the inside looking out, the light walls serve the same role with opposite effect, capturing sunlight bouncing off the snow and reducing the visual borders between inside and outside. It’s all the same, the house seems to be saying.
It’s certainly an exercise in minimalism. The city-dwelling owners wanted a getaway that was a simple, refreshing break from urban life, and they built it with an extremely spare (though not cold) atmosphere. The walls, despite being monochromatic, have energy, with lines crossing and converging and focusing your vision in multiple directions. (If you want to practice perspective drawing, it’s a dream.) There’s no running water, heat is via wood stove (and note the Finnish sauna, of course), and electricity is solar. This is all we need, they’re saying, and they’re right.
Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.