House Riihi
Friday 10 Oct 2014


House Riihi, designed by the architects at Office for Peripheral Architecture (OOPEAA), is located in Alajärvi, a small village in eastern Ostrobothnia in Finland, in a valley-like area next to a small island of forest on the side of a farm field.

Their clients, a family consisting of an entrepreneur father, an artist mother and two sons, needed a house that had spaces for living accompanied by separate spaces for hobbies, as well as a studio that could serve as a workshop.  

The completed residence blends in with the surrounding landscape through its shape and materials. Its composition subtly recalls the feeling of a traditional Finnish farm, in which wooden cottages were arranged so as to form a protected inner courtyard with the buildings facing this courtyard. Here the three buildings, house, workshop and garage, give shape to an intimate garden, creating an optimal microclimate around the house by minimising the impact of the northerly winds blowing in the valley.

The house is L-shaped, a low energy building made of wood in its exterior, interior and frame. Large pitched roofs clad in aluminium reflect the landscape in an unexpected way. Compressed wood was used for insulation and paper used for sealing. All metal parts in the building are made of untreated aluminium. The materials and technical solutions used mean that the house can be recycled when it reaches the end of its life cycle.

Riihi House is heated using four heat retaining fireplaces that also provide hot water. The lighting system is supplied with batteries charged with solar power. Thus it is possible to live in the house without being dependent on the power grid and water and drainage grids.

The three functionalities required of the residence are indicated through distinct interior differences. The garage and hobby space is extremely simple, with a sense of anonymity to its interior surfaces. The workshop has very high ceilings and its wooden surfaces, including the floors, are painted white in order to make the light as even as possible.

The interiors in the house, furnished and clad in radially sawn timber provide a warm and cosy atmosphere. Here the family can enjoy the spacious living room and its central fireplace, climb on the mezzanine to contemplate the view over the fields and use the large and furnished corridors as a play area or reading room, overlooking the inner yard through their wide openings.