Marja-Riitta Norri Architects

Kaupunkivillat Apartments, Espoo

Espoo, Finland

Terraced and semi-detached houses for the house fair at Kauklahti.

These city villas meander and intertwine in a pleasant layout although in fact they constitute a row house. As little as possible of the area of the sloping site has been built; instead, the houses are terraced to follow the slope.… It is agreeable to knock about the place. The houses are large enough and the auxiliary structures, such as lightweight car ports of concrete and batten, are small enough. The gravel roads are delightfully narrow, though they are drivable by car. Each house has an individual courtyard and terrace, in addition to which the site accommodates a playground for children.

Many successful details have been achieved by utilising the slope of the ground. The terraces are raised off the ground, which gives them privacy, and access to them is along stairs. Because of the level variation, there are lots of rails and fences, all stepped as well. Each apartment is furnished with a fireplace and a handsome exterior chimney built of old-fashioned brick. The overall outlook of the area consists of stairs, chimneys, wooden beams, batten and boarding.…

The city villas in Kauklahti do not boast with revolutionary floor plan or appearance. They are high-quality apartments set agreeably in a slope and favourably oriented. They constitute a genial, intimate quarter, which along with the growth of the greenery may well acquire some romance and mystery for the inhabitants’ delight.

Kirsti Larja, extracts from analysis of the city villas for the Wooden Town Studio of Helsinki University of Technology, 2007

  • 23 apartments
  • Total gross area 3500 m²
  • First prize in a site development competition in 2004
  • Completed 2006
  • Published in the book Kotina puinen kaupunkikylä (home in a wooden urban village) / Ministry of the Environment, Centre of Expertise for Wood Products, WoodFocus 2006
  • Developers: SATO, Finnforest Oyj

Interiors shown in photos: Viveka Uusivirta / Casuarina.