As if defying the harsh weather in Lapland, Villa Valtanen envisioned by Arkkitehtitoimisto Louekari inspires coziness and warmth. This uncommon wilderness retreat composed of a living space, sauna, and woodshed, employs ancient timber structures connected by using principles of contemporary architecture: “The living room and sauna have a log frame with fishtail corner joints, which is a typical old Finnish building system. Between sauna and Living room is a lofty space with big windows opening onto the forest landscape of Lapland.
The side walls are clad in tarred 45 mm planking which acts like a ‘raincoat’ and allows the use of a short eaves with almost no overhang. The gable walls are sheltered by a traditional eaves with a long overhang. The log frames, windows, doors, facade moldings and other joinery were made by local firms. The only products imported from outside were the solar panels and their batteries and the composting toilet”. As a Northern Norway enthusiast, this simple, yet creative project made my day. How do you find it?
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light