May 06, 2021 / Architecture
Niliaitta Prototype by Studio Puisto

Niliaitta Prototype is a minimal home located near Salamajärvi National Park in Finland, designed by Studio Puisto. Its namesake, niliaitta, refers to a traditional building type in Lapland, which is originally a permanent structure designed as a safe place to store food outdoors in habitats with bears and other wild animals. While Kivijärvi is not in Lapland, it is located in the Suomenselkä region of central Finland, an area that has historically had Sámi settlement. Similarly, the terrain of Suomenselkä is higher with an entirely different environment closer to the nature of more northern regions, giving the area the name “Lapland’s finger.” Therefore, it was natural to develop a modern application of a building typical to Lapland at Kivijärvi.

Inside the Niliaitta prototype, the experience is unique. Due to a ceiling height window the length of an entire wall, the visual connection to the surrounding nature is left as unobstructed as possible. The landscape that opens from this window intentionally dominates the rest, as the interior is done purposefully so that it would only serve as a neutral, blank canvas second to the nature outside.

The overall structure is raised on a single pillar to maintain only minimal contact with the nature below, and after construction, the forest terrain below has been restored to its original appearance. Similarly, the cabin itself was strategically positioned so that only a few trees needed to be taken down during construction and only a narrow path grants access. While a new structure, the exterior materials and coloring help blend the cabin into the surrounding nature and make it feel as if it has always belonged amidst the vertical rhythm of forest trees around it.

To remain environmentally sensitive, the materials of the Niliaitta prototype are all ecological with the use of wood in all interior surfaces, eco-wool as insulation, and the avoidance of plastic in the structures. In additional to the environmental benefits, wood also creates a cozy atmosphere, healthy indoor air, and pleasant acoustics. In addition, the softness of the acoustics is also influenced by the modern angular finger paneling on the walls.

Throughout, the quality of equipment in the cabin corresponds with that of a high-standard hotel room. The bathroom, a spacious shower and a kitchenette are all housed in a rotating core in the middle of the cabin that also houses all tech (ventilation unit, air source heat pump, water heater, and electrical switchboard). The solution makes it possible to keep the other walls and ceiling surfaces of the cabin as clean as possible, which creates a harmonious overall interior. In addition, the water, sewer pipes and electrical cables all run to the Niliaitta prototype under the external staircase in an enclosure, similarly creating a clean exterior as well.

Photography by Archmospheres