Cantilevering boxes form lakeside Minnesota cabin by Salmela Architect
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Hyytinen by Salmela Architect

Cantilevered boxes form lakeside Minnesota cabin by Salmela Architect

This rustic dwelling by American studio Salmela Architect consists of stacked boxes with dark grey wood walls and white-trimmed windows.

Called Hyytinen, the cabin is located in northern Minnesota, on a gently wooded site that slopes down towards Lake Vermilion. The scenic area is a popular fishing destination and draws tourists from across the region.

Hyytinen by Salmela Architect

L-shaped in plan, the structure comprises two rectilinear volumes that are stacked perpendicular to each other. The lower box extends over a small patio, while the upper volume cantilevers over a wooden deck.

Hyytinen by Salmela Architect

The building replaces an older, non-insulated cottage that was oriented toward the east and sat parallel to the lake. The new structure faces south and looks towards a restored sauna built from cinder block.

Hyytinen by Salmela Architect

"This shift allowed the east end to be fully glazed, without visual obstruction," said Salmela Architect, a Minnesota-based studio led by architect David Salmela. The new orientation also enabled the creation of the south-facing deck, which is ringed with wooden battens.

Hyytinen by Salmela Architect

The dwelling is clad in wooden boards that were coated with a material similar to pine tar, a natural preservative that has long been used in Scandinavia. Underneath the siding is a "splash base" to further prevent deterioration.

Inside, the architect sheathed walls and ceilings in locally sourced, light-coloured wood, which contrasts with dark-grey floor tiles. Expansive glazing offers sweeping views of the landscape.

In addition to main living zones, the three-storey home contains a master bedroom and two guest rooms.

Hyytinen by Salmela Architect

Outside, a series of steps connects the cabin to a new boathouse and the shoreline. "The dry-laid stone walls, steps and pathways provide a wonderful warmth and contextual appropriateness to the rugged northern Minnesota setting," the studio said.

Hyytinen by Salmela Architect

Other projects by Salmela Architect include a rural Wisconsin home with a steep roof, square windows and cedar cladding, and a Minneapolis office building with a black-and-white, chequerboard facade.

Photography is by Paul Crosby


Project credits:

Architecture firm: Salmela Architect
Principal architect: David Salmela
Project architect: Malini Srivastava
Builder: Rod & Sons Carpentry

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Hyytinen by Salmela Architect
Hyytinen by Salmela Architect
Hyytinen by Salmela Architect
Hyytinen by Salmela Architect
Hyytinen by Salmela Architect