Angular roofs funnel daylight into coastal summer house inspired by traditional Estonian buildings

This summer house in the Estonian village of Muraste comprises a cluster of timber volumes topped with faceted roofs and triangular roof lights that allow natural light to pour into the interiors.more

The property is situated in a wooded area on the shore of the Baltic Sea and was designed by architecture studio KUU Arhitektid, which is based in nearby Tallinn.

The architects based the concept for the summer house on ancient timber dwellings called koda that have been constructed in Estonia for several millennia.

"The archetypal koda in its original form is still in use, even though its basic purpose has changed," said the studio.

"The concept of the summer house is based on this archetypal building, which has been modernised in form and function."

KUU Arhitektid reinterpreted the simple wooden structures as a series of pods with angular roofs that lend the interiors a spacious feel thanks to the resulting internal height.

The architects originally developed the building system for the Floriade 2012 horticulture expo in Amsterdam, where six of the units were connected to form the Estonia Pavilion.

The summer house comprises three units accommodating the main functional spaces – a sauna, a living room and kitchen, and a bedroom and toilet.

The two larger pods containing the main living spaces are connected to form a comfortable and practical dwelling that can be occupied all year round.

A deck extending around the wooden volumes provides a series of usable outdoor spaces tucked in between the buildings and connects the living areas with a separate unit containing the sauna.

All of the units feature a timber-framed structure clad in boards of larch wood that extend across the walls and roofs. The sauna is treated with tar oil that gives it a contrasting black finish.

The volume accommodating the kitchen, dining table and sofa is flanked on two sides by large sliding glass doors that open onto the terrace.

The glazed surfaces are oriented to the north to frame a view towards the Baltic Sea, and to the south to capture the best of the available sunlight. A large opening in one wall of the bedroom also opens onto the external deck.

Each of the pods features an asymmetric vaulted roof that culminates in a triangular skylight. These openings allows daylight to wash across the white-painted ceilings and walls.

Photography is by Tõnu Tunnel.