This Battery-Powered House Never Runs Out of Juice

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By Dwell and Heather Corcoran
A high-tech house in rural Finland offers a family a place to recharge— in more ways than one.

The sublime simplicity of Finland’s Kärsämäki Church had long been an inspiration for artist Elina Försti. So when she and her husband, Petri Mäkelä, decided to build a house for their family, they immediately thought of its architect, Anssi Lassila of OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture.

 

This Battery-Powered House Never Runs Out of Juice - Photo 1 of 7 - Architect Anssi Lassila de-signed House Riihi to run on Control Intelligence’s Talomat system, which enables the buildings to be powered by battery. "Often, we don’t know that there has been a power outage," says resident Petri Mäkelä, "since the lights haven’t even flickered." By designing the automation system and the house simultaneously, Lassila had maximum control over its integration.

Architect Anssi Lassila de-signed House Riihi to run on Control Intelligence’s Talomat system, which enables the buildings to be powered by battery. "Often, we don’t know that there has been a power outage," says resident Petri Mäkelä, "since the lights haven’t even flickered." By designing the automation system and the house simultaneously, Lassila had maximum control over its integration.

This Battery-Powered House Never Runs Out of Juice - Photo 2 of 7 - Elina works beneath a series of skylights and LED spots from Zumtobel in her studio. &nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.8;">At more than 16 feet tall, the locally fabricated windows benefit from aluminum frames, which can be substantially thinner than wood versions.</span>

Elina works beneath a series of skylights and LED spots from Zumtobel in her studio.  At more than 16 feet tall, the locally fabricated windows benefit from aluminum frames, which can be substantially thinner than wood versions.

The couple wanted an efficient home made of recyclable materials. That attitude enticed Lassila, who usually works on a larger scale, to take on the project. "I knew I could give him free rein from the moment we met," says Elina. 


This Battery-Powered House Never Runs Out of Juice - Photo 3 of 7 - &nbsp;The studio fireplace is a custom design by OOPEAA, and one of the elements that will allow the house to go off the grid.&nbsp;

 The studio fireplace is a custom design by OOPEAA, and one of the elements that will allow the house to go off the grid. 

This Battery-Powered House Never Runs Out of Juice - Photo 4 of 7 - The living room includes a table from Normann Copenhagen, chairs by Annansilmät-Aitta, and Alvar Aalto’s A810 lamp for Artek, all on a poured concrete floor.

The living room includes a table from Normann Copenhagen, chairs by Annansilmät-Aitta, and Alvar Aalto’s A810 lamp for Artek, all on a poured concrete floor.

The three structures that make up House Riihi—its name references the local barns that inspired its form—are deceptively simple. A Talomat automation system from Finland’s Control Intelligence allows the family to turn on lights and unlock doors, and its battery means the house stays powered even in outages. Once a solar array is installed, the structures will be able to be un­­plugged from the grid completely.


This Battery-Powered House Never Runs Out of Juice - Photo 5 of 7 - The home comprises three structures: a main house, a garage, and a studio for resident Elina Försti, an artist. Local spruce cladding, metal standing-seam roofs, and aluminum frames mean the entire complex is recyclable. "Right now, it all looks very polished, but in the future it will develop a nice patina," Lassila says.&nbsp;

The home comprises three structures: a main house, a garage, and a studio for resident Elina Försti, an artist. Local spruce cladding, metal standing-seam roofs, and aluminum frames mean the entire complex is recyclable. "Right now, it all looks very polished, but in the future it will develop a nice patina," Lassila says. 

This Battery-Powered House Never Runs Out of Juice - Photo 6 of 7 - A window seat provides a place to relax post-sauna.&nbsp;

A window seat provides a place to relax post-sauna. 

For those looking to get smart, Petri offers simple advice: "Decide the level of automation you’re aiming for—then choose the system one level higher." 


This Battery-Powered House Never Runs Out of Juice - Photo 7 of 7 -

Additional reporting by Katie Treggiden