The idea of a shared hideaway emerged in the early 1930’s in the Architecture Club, the predecessor to the Guild of Architecture. The desire was to built a place where the students could flee to when the studies became a burden and the professors’ frown unbearable.
Time passed and it was quickly noted that within a range of 20km from the centre of Helsinki even the smallest bits of land were already taken and were for sale for an outrageous 25 Finnish marks per square meter. Later on, in the spring of 1935 a man named Eemel Lindholm was discovered, who offered a plot on the Mörtträsket shore in Sipoo for a reasonable price of 53 pennies per square meter. The Cottage Committee immediately seized the chance. That same spring the Cottage Foundation of the Architecture Club was founded to be the owner and caretaker of the land.
That spring of 1935 the Guild of Architecture announced its members a competition the purpose of which was to find the best plan for the Cottage. The results were not satisfying so a new competition was announced with a better outcome. The winning proposal made by Niilo Pulkka. However, the Cottage was decided to be built based on the second best proposal planned by S. Hytönen.
The original Cottage had a spacious living room, bedrooms for 25 people, a kitchen, a caretakers room, a separate sauna and a doublet bedroom. The Cottage was actively used especially in the 40’s and 50’s — and based on the guestbooks and other sources, the Cottage was regarded highly among the students. Many of the current influential architects have been involved in the Foundation or have spent memorable moments at the Cottage of the Guild of Architecture.
One restraining quality to the use of the Cottage was its relatively distant location from Helsinki. Especially after Dipoli (the former house of the technology students’ union) was finished the popularity of the Cottage decreased significantly. The low use and the homeless people from the surroundings in Sipoo resulted in the demise of the original Cottage. The old sauna burned on Pentecost 1961 and the already neglected Cottage faced the same fate in the summer of 1973.
The rise of a new Cottage
In the early 1980’s the members of the Guild of Architecture got excited again about the idea of building the Cottage anew for the recreation of the students. An architectural competition was held for the plans of the new Cottage in 1982. The proposal by Seppo Sivula, Peter Verhe and Anneli Paloniemi was selected to be built. In 1992 a sauna and a shed were finished in a slightly varied form. The Cottage itself was not realised according to the winning proposal, because it was later decided unfit for the purposes of the Guild of Architecture and was an example of an already passed style of architecture. Since the year 1992 in the place of the planned main building, a cottage based on a course work has been built. The building was developed to fit the needs of the Guild by Kimmo Lylykangas and Nina Välkepinta.
The new Cottage got its first physical form when Kimmo Lylykangas and Nina Välkepinta cast the foundation in the spring of 1993. In the beginning of the construction a significant effort was made by the Vantaa vocational school builder students. When the school was shut down, the construction of the new Cottage fell entirely on the members of the Guild and was made largely possible by donations from various sources. In the start everything went smoothly, because good contractors were available from the Finnish employment office to supervise the students of architecture which in turn got a small wage from the government for their construction training period. When the economy started getting better again, students lost the government wage for the training and went after more lucrative jobs. The Cottage remained unfinished.
In the turn of the millennium, the Cottage had grey timber walls, a handsome spruce floor, unique roofing, an impressive heat reserving fire place and made-to-measure windows and doors waiting to be installed. The boarding of the facade as well as the kitchen, the interior and the finishing touches remained incomplete. Yet none gave up — even if the Foundation’s bank account had spare money only for compulsory expenses. New energy for the construction was found when a loan was taken to finish the Cottage before the construction permit expired. In the year 2000 the construction of the Cottage was furthered visibly.
After the main building was finished it was again time to renovate the already decayed sauna. All the interiors were remade, the layout of the sauna room was made better and the poorly constructed structures were built from scratch. The work advanced slowly and was made partly with outside help and loan money. Simultaneously the interiors of the main building were continued to be built. The Cottage was finally ready for use in 2003 — ten years after the beginning of construction.
© The Foundation of the Club of Architecture 2018