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Finnish Summer Houses

by Doug Black in Culture on 05 June 2008

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Nobody appreciates the summer more than Scandinavians. After seven months of winter they savor the brief spell of long days and temperate climates like a precious resource. Many residents—particularly those from Finland—choose to spend this period communing with nature, often in private summer homes. Finnish architects are no different. Their secondary homes are used as blank slates where they can construct their personalized visions and experiment with more daring design concepts.

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Documenting these distinctive houses was the task of Jari and Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen, an artist and architect, respectively. Their book, "Finnish Summer Houses", details them, employing original artist sketches and archival photographs, along with contemporary shots. The 20 villas, cottages and cabins selected highlight summer houses dating from 1895 to the present. Featured homes are the products of architects like Alvar Aalto (pictured above on book cover), Juhani Pallasmaa and Bertel Saarnio (pictured at right). Common design themes include a focus on recreational comfort and an intimate incorporation of natural surroundings. Many also employ uniquely Finnish cultural features, like the inclusion of traditional saunas.

A particularly good read for the coming months, "Finnish Summer Houses" will appeal to fans of Scandinavian design and rustic architecture in general. It's available from Amazon.

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