Collective Housing in Helsinki
Myllypuro, Helsinki, Finland

Design team: Dr Cristian Suau & Henric Benesch
Clients: Myllypuro City Hall & SAFA
Publication: Finnish design media
Type: collective housing, timber dwellings, landscaping
Year: 2005
Budget: -
Building systems: timber frames, solid wood, metal truss, glazing cladding, timber decking & louvres, standard insolation
Landscape: green roof, grass field, timber/stone paving
Place: Myllypuro, Helsinki,

The main idea is the organized the housing programme along bands that loop within the forest. Thus each strip performs as a continuous and adaptable 'snake' that follows the top0graphical contours of the site.

The Trees as Spatial Organisers
Each housing buildings recognise both the ecological and climatic aspects of the site by offering natural light and also incorporating conifers as part of the housing units. So you can find that every perforation in each housing slab allows the existing trees to grow: he effect is living in a 'grand tree house'. Both recreational network and the protected green areas co-exist within the overall scheme. They constitute the main public spaces. The flats are facing a magnificent panorama of the woodscape. They are mostly oriented to the south to maximised solar gains.

Spatial Idea
This proposal treats the woody mass as matter of design. Through repetitive subtractions we mould an active housing space, which interplays with the existing geometry of the forest and topography. Instead of create a generic block, each building is organised along bands to maximize the equation low-rise and high-density in the intervention area and also build a model of “a human-scale urban village”: We offer row and block houses.

100% Wood
The location of this band makes it possible to keep all trees intact. The inhabitants here are 100% living in contact with nature, by embracing yards and parks or experiencing the deep forest.

Download PDF Design Project


initial sketch  

key image  

conceptual idea  

spatial strategy  


buildings & allotments  

schematic section  

plans & sections  


layout - ground floor  

layout - first floor  

layout - second floor  

layout - roof level  

section AA  

section BB  

section CC  

lateral elevation