Published in 2/2024 - Matter and Intelligence


Villa Koppar


Architects Kristiina Kuusiluoma, Martino De Rossi
Location Kopparnäsintie, Degerby, Inkoo
Gross Area 150 + 30 m2
Completion 2023

Villa Koppar was designed for a young couple who wanted an ecological, natural and healthy home for their growing family. The house was for the most part financed through a loan, so the bank demanded a cost estimate for the project as a precondition for granting it. A realistic budget therefore guided the design from the very beginning.

The living area, dining room, kitchen and sauna, are located on the upper floor, allowing for the enjoyment of views over a meadow and rocky landscape as well as via an extended terrace towards an adjacent rock outcrop. The bedrooms are located on the ground floor overlooking an old, sheltered garden. The utility spaces are part of the entrance hall. All items, including phone chargers and electronics, have their own place. The outbuilding includes a study, a small gym and garage.

The material and colour palette is minimalist, mainly wood, clay and stone. The floors of both levels are rammed earth, with an integrated geothermal system with hydronic in-floor heating.

Villa Koppar’s external walls are built from Ecococon prefabricated straw panels: agricultural surplus straw is compacted inside wooden frames that act as a load-bearing structure. The mono-material structure is fault-tolerant and has good insulation properties. The straw material was assembled into large panels in a nearby warehouse, which significantly shortened the construction time on the site, thus avoiding the construction of a weather shelter. When designing a house from straw panels, one must know in advance how to take into account the reinforcement of the straw structure for possible heavy furniture loads, such as the kitchen. On the other hand, the 40-centimetre-thick straw panels allow for the design of interesting window recesses: each window in Villa Koppar forms its own space, which makes even a small room feel more spacious.

The straw walls are rendered on the inside with clay plaster, which equalizes the humidity and temperature of the indoor air. The exterior walls are clad with spruce boards, so the house will turn grey with time, becoming part of the exposed rock face and surrounding nature. Not all spaces in the house have a predefined purpose. It was most gratifying for the architects to hear from the clients that the house has made them even more creative. ↙

Photos Simone Bossi