WISA Wooden Design Hotel
by Pieta-Linda Auttila



Architect Pieta-Linda Auttila has completed a prototype holiday home in Helsinki, Finland, featuring a sculptural, wooden trellis between two box-like ends.


Called the WISA Wooden Design Hotel and created for Finnish forest products brand UPM Kymmene, the building is made of pine, spruce and birch grown in Finland.


The two solid volumes house sleeping and living areas, with large windows in each end overlooking the sea on one side and the city on the other.


The curved panels of the wooden trellis shelter a central patio from wind and filter the light.


Here's some more information from the architect:


WISA Wooden Design Hotel

“By bending the block I forced the slats into a new form that contrasts with the original arrangement. That which is solid turns partly transparent, that which is strictly geometrical, organic,” – Pieta-Linda Auttila, architect –


WISA Wooden Design Hotel is an architectural gem of wood situated in the maritime heart of Helsinki, capital of Finland. Around it lie the city and 200 years of architectural history.


The work was designed by interior architect Pieta-Linda Auttila. She hopes to spark interest in wood and highlight its role in building and interior design.


The WISA Wooden Design Hotel is an outstanding example of wood’s versatility. Here, wood works both as a load-bearing structure and decor in walls, ceilings and floors. The building is a composition of Finnish pine, spruce and birch, and a testimonial to their special characteristics.


When you view the building from a distance, your eye is first caught by the atrium courtyard in the centre; it separates the living quarters at both ends.


The atrium’s shape flatters the liveliness of wood; technically it is the most challenging part of the design. The long curved pine boards half-covering the patio form a trellis that titillates the imagination. Thanks to the trellis, the courtyard comes alive in a dizzying and enchanting way.


The trellis protects against the wind and filters the long rays of the Nordic sun into the courtyard. The charming interplay of light and shade can be observed throughout the day, as the bright morning light gradually turns into the red glow of the Northern midnight sun.


The striking wood architecture makes its way to the interior, giving Finnish pine another chance to show what it’s made of. But not alone. The pine floor is complemented by the light ethereal beauty of Nordic birch. The walls and the ceiling are panelled with beautiful and durable birch plywood.


This is how Pieta-Linda Auttila describes the idea she realised with the WISA Wooden Design Hotel: “In the beginning was the roaring sea. Powerful waves lifted from the depths a wooden block, already darkened by sea water, and threw it against a rock. The force of the blow broke the wood in the middle.”


The curved part, slashed into strips in the middle, forms a trellis and shelters the courtyard of the hotel. As for the unbroken ends, they are the living quarters.


The dark exterior and light interior of the WISA Wooden Design Hotel likewise represent a broken block of wood. When the dark surface of the block is cracked, the original lightness of the wood is exposed.


The floor-to-ceiling windows at both ends of the hotel provide plenty of light to the interior. The views complement each other. The bedroom faces the sea and the morning sun. Past the courtyard, at the other end of the space, the view from the lounging area gives onto the city and the evening sun. During the day you can observe a swarming crowd and bustling commercial centre. After the late sunset the nocturnal city’s own lights come on.


The WISA Wooden Design Hotel is based on the winning proposal of the WISA 24h Wooden Design Workshop competition organised by UPM, one of the leading forest products companies in the world.

The building can provide overnight accommodation for a few people, but it is not designed for general hotel use.


WISA Wooden Design Hotel / Pieta-Linda Auttila

Architect: Pieta-Linda Auttila
Location: Valkosaari island in Southern Harbour of Helsinki, Finland
Building owner: UPM Kymmene
Construction: 30 to 40 m² / 150 m³
Structure: Wood
Coating: Native wo
Construction: Year: 2009
Photographs: UPM


Posted on Thursday August 6th 2009 at 12:03 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • js

    wow. amazing!


    holly shit! this is great!!
    love it…
    no deep analitical comment. clear + beautifull…

    conceptual, yet wonderfull phisical translation… bla bla bla…

    its simply a very nice project.

  • ryan

    wish we could see some drawings

  • leopoldo

    super nice job

  • mahrous

    where is the drawings !!!!!we r architects god dammit

  • wentao

    beautiful like a poem

  • hiro-hito@hotmail

    es guay!

  • yo

    why you guys need drawing?!?
    it’s like saying that in order for you to like New York you need the city plan?
    come on…!

  • yo

    btw, quite beautiful!!

  • ashwin, bangalore

    line n light, shape and shadow, flow n feel, content n context, matter n material, space n story, virtue and view,,, nicely blended together… loved it!….

  • torok

    i don’t want to imagine how it will look after the first rainfall…

  • thomas

    nice idea but i think the volymes and “poetic(?)” wooden strips do not meet in a tectonic nor structural way, inside messy supporting pillar jungle is visible to outside too = too little or too much mess & clearness

    seen it from sea a couple of times, nice to have something temporary in a landscape, anyway.

  • rodger

    ridiculous, and beautiful.
    love the sensibility but think the novel timber banding effects are over used .
    i do not think this project is open enough to the view, or closed enough. this curvy screen ,beyond the initial spectacle, is a horrible solution to defining the parameters of the space and makes me question the skill of the architects.

  • roman kralya

    I`d like to it in my native Siberia =))) Especially in winter!
    But i love it as project. Shapes and lines are grateful!

  • Bruce

    mahrous – chill; if you can not understand this simple building from these photos, drawings won’t help you.

    A lovely, if somewhat impermanent solution. We all know wood rots when exposed like this to the elements; but the beauty is… it is renewable.

  • hugo

    i went to see it once after some rainy weeks and the wooden strips are in bad shape. some of the strips that form the main canopy have actually detached. the two rooms have nicely finished interiors, but nothing out of the ordinary. The space in between the two rooms-boxes is dominated by the wavy wooden strips that while they dont protect from the natural elements at all, at least provide some privacy from the boats that approach the city. By the way, although one room has views to the city, the other has views to a bush and a water treatment plant.

    however, for a temporary structure resulting from a competition that only lasted 24hrs from the moment it was announced to the time of submission is an interesting excercise.

  • gab xiao

    this is where architecture melts into art installation. the wow! effect is instant, and instantly dissapears

    we DO NEED DRAWINGS – for whoever is posting on Dezeen. Just because as architects our eyes go beyond the picture… there’s always an added dimension to the project once it’s drawings are being revealed

  • very nice…

  • dp

    two boxes and a couple of timber strips waving about!
    draw it yourself! you are architects…

  • Michael

    The tie plates say temporary. If there had been some effort put into joint connections, I am sure this structure would last much longer. As Hugo said, it is temporary, so it will most likely only live on through this documentation as an expression.

  • ray

    Help! Let me out – of the courtyard!

  • It seems to be embarrassed about where it is. Is it true? Does the context impose this insularity? The play of timber elements does not seem particularly sustaining; and it seems (again without drawings) that a significant part of the interstitial, shadowy space is impossible to negotiate or occupy.
    I note hugo’s post. I wonder if more could be made out of looking at less.

  • anton

    love the idea..but not the detail…

  • Salvadore

    nice and very nice but not something that will last in time… a bit to trendy

  • Probably not wildly practical but very lovely as a sculptural object.

  • gaque

    it’s a lot like my colleagues and mine first year “room” projects. take a couple rooms and connect them together…what other option does one have but to flowingly connect them with strips of wood! its the language of a beginning.

    the courtyard, although very open, seems terribly tight. im not a claustrophobe, but this space may change that. its a cage.

    surely somebody will refute me…but i think these are renderings.

  • MrCoolTeapot

    Does it remind anyone elso of Frank Gehry’s wooden furniture, curvy slats and all that, or perhaps Frank Stella’s sculptural efforts?
    Sitting by the ocean might be a tad chilly but in a backyard I think it would be great.
    I could see this as a new line of “artistic” gazebo’s or teahouse?

  • dontworryaboutit

    haha. really i need drawings to understand this space. i don't know whats going on.

    the courtyard:

    is it really sheltering me?

    is it a cage?

    why is it blocking my view?

    can i actually sit on the arcing over the ground?

    how much space do i feel i have in the courtyard?

    it feels rickety, but not at all organic. shoddy is the word

    • Tom S

      I agree 87.869965%

  • liisa

    I saw this fropm a boat in Helsinki today, very nice… Sits beautifully in the scenery, definately not renderings..

  • Pierre Sinsua

    im really a into wave and this is a very good execution

  • elle

    does anyone else feel that it is over-designed?!?!?!
    it is beautiful – doesn’t really speak to the landscape…

  • duongbong

    wow….beautiful…great job.

  • TT

    I like it’s concept of playing with the sun and wind. I feel their movement in the atrium court.

  • Li K. Wong

    Would like to see it live. Love it!

  • I slept there a few weeks ago and wrote about it in my blog ARKKIVAHTI. It is a very nice little exercise, and we two architects enjoyed the evening, the night and the morning a lot. With its faults, it has energy.

  • tanya telford – T

    i love the way that this (in part) seems to play with the idea of depicting natural movement. Im wondering if the architects will go on to develop some of ideas into something more permanent.

  • Katlyn C.
  • KP

    the concept show the outcome
    unbelievable that can produce this architecture element

  • Ricky

    Come February, there’s going to be some wicked icicles on that trellis.