6.6. The Snake House: Finland’s most radical co-housing schemes

6.6. The Snake House: Finland’s most radical co-housing schemes

Finland is known to be the happiest country in the world but why? Is this because of people’s access to nature and regular sauna visits or does the country’s shared housing have something to do with it?

During London Festival of Architecture the award winning Finnish architect, Mona Schalin, and Eleanor Fawcett from Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation engage with the concept of “shared space”. Drawing from one of Finland’s most famous co-housing schemes —The Snake House (Käärmetalo) designed by Yrjö Lindegren and fully renovated by Architects Kati Salonen and Mona Schalin in 2018—Eleanor and Mona interrogate what shared space actually is or should be, how it connects to private “unshared” space, and what types of activities it houses.

There is a tendency, in contemporary co-housing, to dedicate shared spaces to hobbies or entertainment: cinemas or yoga halls. In contrast, in Finnish traditional housing schemes, shared functions are related to the everyday activities of laundry, washing, bathing, cleaning, and fixing. What are the relevant differences, if any? What lessons can we learn from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s?

This presentation and discussion will be moderated by Professor of Architecture and Environment policy, Minna Sunikka-Blank (University of Cambridge) and Junior Research Fellow in Architecture and Architect, Sofia Singler (University of Cambridge).

Attendees are also welcome to see Zaha Hadid Foundation’s new architectural exhibition Zaha’s Moonsoon: An Interior in Japan before joining the talk (5.30–6pm). More information on Zaha Hadid Foundation’s website.

The Snake House: Finland’s most radical co-housing schemes at Zaha Hadid Foundation (Studio 9, 10 Bowling Green Ln, London EC1R 0BQ), London on 6 June, 6pm. Free event, please register via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-snake-house-finlands-most-radical-co-housing-schemes-tickets-617060092347

Photo: Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy

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