This spiral house designed by Olavi Koponen will have you going in circles – literally. Located in Espoo, Finland, this unusual home has its modern elements, but it is also suggestive of a cave-like structure, leading you into its depths through winding hallways and rounded rooms. Inspired by a conch shell, the house combines this natural muse with earthy materials like wood, concrete and steel. It all comes together in an organic way that flows freely from inside out. Here’s the grand tour.
Clad in Siberian larch, these timber shingles weather beautifully over time, all the better with age. Surrounding the house, a rock garden is a nice contrast to the timber house. The main wing houses the living area, while the functional rooms – bathroom, dressing room and storage areas – occupy a separate wing. The home’s two levels are actually more like one that winds its way from the ground floor to the upper level.
Each end of this colossal curl is finished in a glass facade with a walkout – a patio on the lower level, and a balcony on the upper level. Tucked beneath the upper level, a sheltered outdoor entertaining area offers all-weather alfresco living and lounging.
A “slice” cut out of this curving structure features two additional facades, facing each other and each finished in glass to offer an open view into the living area on the other side. These glazed walls also flood interiors with natural light, breaking up the dark, cavernous depths.
Interiors are much what you’d expect from the outside view, echoing the spiraling shape and mirroring the shingles cladding the exterior. Stairs spiral through the home, stepping past custom furniture created to follow the rounded walls of the house.
The staircase circles its way around a heavy primitive-looking plaster fireplace. A rough round hole cut in the front of this fixture offers a view of the flickering focal point within.
Actually, it’s a pair of staircases leading upward, one grey and one orange. Although functional, they also provide an unusual interior feature that leads the eye (and your feet) upward to a glazed facade.
With the walls and ceilings clad in wood, interiors boast a casual cottage aesthetic. There are no real walls in this floor plan, but privacy comes by the curving walls that block the view from one living space to the next.
The interior tiles follow the circular silhouette of the house – a literal translation of the exterior.
The ceilings are surprisingly high, resulting in spacious interiors enhanced by lots of natural light and the lack of traditional room divisions. Unlike typical rooms, this layout lacks a feature wall or main focal point for a living space, so furniture placement requires some creativity to avoid it floating aimlessly.
Like the other spaces in the home, the bathroom lacks traditional privacy walls and quite the opposite, features a huge glazed facade.
The shower is tucked into a private tiled booth, shielding users from the outdoors.
From one functional space to another, this cute little kitchen has a “kitschy” appeal that is a flashback to the ’50s.
This linear layout features a charming patterned-tile backsplash and countertops, and copious cabinets are all awash in the neutral wood that is the prevailing palette throughout this home.
The home’s off-the-wall circular layout lures you to keep walking around the next corner, never sure of what you’ll find. Lots of windows line the walls enclosing this home, adding an important element of natural light and views that enhance the home’s sense of space.
Here are some floor plans that illustrate the shape and flow of this house: