Marja-Riitta Norri Architects

Westendinhelmi Housing

Westend, Espoo, Finland

Two terraced houses at Westend.

A resonance is set up between the two sides of the long court: from its comparatively constricted east end (where most people will approach it), it widens in the middle, then is slightly constrained again. Combined effects of the slope and the constriction, expansion, constriction sequence give the court a sense of privacy and informal generosity, enhanced by the fine trees and the way in which individual private gardens open to the green.… The scheme is reasonably dense, it respects the landscape and was finalized in detail by participation. Its approach could be adapted for many suburban sites and seriously lower budgets.

Peter Davey, The Architectural Review, June 2001

The eccentricity in plan is particularly succesful, not only in breaking down the formal bulk of the nine-house south terrace but also in helping to define specific external spaces at the front. To the north, low-level garden walls, canopies and small sheds draw out the splayed geometries of the party walls to create a series of contained and defensible forecourts that bring privacy to the sheltered entrances and form a buffer to the shared gardens. – – –

The net result of this care and rigorous attention to detail has been that the architect has succesfully created a unified mid-density housing scheme that, while being geometrically and formally varied in response to site and landscape, offers a wide range of units with 17 unique houses that vary from 136 to 245 square metres.

Rob Gregory: Key Contemporary Buildings, Laurence King Publishing 2008

  • 17 apartments
  • Total gross area 4000 m²
  • Completed 2000
  • Published:
    • Rob Gregory: Key Contemporary Buildings, 2008
    • The Architectural Review, June 2001
    • The Finnish Architectural Review 5/2000, Helsinki
    • Monument 30 (1999) Darlinghurst, Australia
  • Developer: Alfred A. Palmberg