“By building responsibly, we can be proud of our legacy.”
Honkarakenne, which is preparing for the Tuusula Housing Fair, is calling for a value debate on Finnish construction. “Our goal is to make responsibility the new norm in Finnish construction,” says CEO Marko Saarelainen. Villa Mikael in the Tuusula Housing Fair is testament to uncompromising principles in construction. It is fully accessible and an optimally healthy house, supporting the independent living of a person with a mobility problem, thereby also saving society’s expenses.
The state of Finnish construction is worrying. Indoor air problems cause illnesses and financial losses, and buildings are demolished way too soon. “This is the result of poor product development, incompetent design and substandard building materials,” says Honkarakenne’s CEO Marko Saarelainen.
“This takes its toll on natural resources and human health, and is completely unnecessary. All buildings can be designed and erected in such a way that they are durable, remain safe and meet the needs of future generations.” Saarelainen’s company has experience in the sustainable implementation of not only detached houses but also hundreds of public buildings.
Time to make mouldy buildings a thing of the past
According to the Home that promotes wellbeing survey carried out by OMD Finland and Honkarakenne, people in Finland living in a detached or semi-detached house consider clean indoor air as the most important aspect of a home.
“It’s time to make mouldy buildings a thing of the past. We can use healthy and ecological building materials, such as pure Finnish wood,” says Marko Saarelainen. He hopes that, similarly, construction be conducted in a way that takes account of the environment and Finnish labour. The raw materials used by Honkarakenne are grown in Finland, and a new seedling is planted in place of each felled tree. The logs are processed in Finland and construction work is assigned to local professionals. This will also help maintain the thousands of years old skills in log house construction.
The pioneer proposes that the criteria be defined in the industry: “The parties that make decisions and process competitive tenders need help in order to avoid the pitfalls of what appear to be cheap solutions and instead make sustainable solutions with long life cycles. By building responsibly, we can be proud of our legacy,” says Marko Saarelainen.
Villa Mikael is the most accessible building ever built in Finland
At the Tuusula Housing Fair, Honkarakenne will be presenting Villa Mikael, Finland’s most accessible home and a brilliant piece of construction, with every detail supporting the resident’s rehabilitation. The house was designed for Mikael Turtiainen, who suffered a serious brain injury a decade ago in a traffic accident. He’s had to learn everything from scratch, including breathing.
Villa Mikael was designed specifically with Mikael Turtiainen’s needs in mind, taking into account how far he can reach from his wheelchair. Everyday life is made easier by automated and numerous smart solutions. The doors open electrically and the upper kitchen cabinets and the lower level of the dishwasher can be raised or lowered. The clean indoor air and naturally antibacterial materials promote health and help him breathe, which is important as he only has half of the normal lung capacity left.
Villa Mikael’s functionalities enable him to lead a much more independent life than previously. He can also go outdoors without any assistance, because the house’s floor is at exactly the same level as the yard. And there are no thresholds.
“This kind of accessible housing is quite new in Finland,” say Mikael’s father Petri Turtiainen, who’s been acting as the developer on behalf of Mikael. The visual solutions and interior in the yard and inside the house were designed by Mikael Turtiainen. The large windows in the living room space open to a lush garden view and a fireplace. The yard has a barbecue, roofed terrace and a jacuzzi to which he can move easily from his wheelchair. The walls inside the house have empowering paintings made by Mikael and his mother.
Studio converted from rehabilitation to sauna evening with friends
A key part of the home in terms of the future is the unique and genuinely multi-purpose rehabilitation studio. It can be used for anti-gravity walking exercises, physiotherapy and as a gym, and for dance exercises and making music – and at the end of the day as a dressing room when his friends turn up for a sauna evening. Mikael Turtiainen, who was a world-class dancer before his accident, is today also known as musician DJ Mikey.
The cost of the solutions increasing Mikael’s independence was some 40,000 to 60,000 euros, says Petri Turtiainen. Mikael will receive a statutory compensation for these. “On the other hand, if you calculate that the need for a carer is reduced from the current 16 hours to perhaps 10, that alone results in annual savings of 30,000 euros. And if Mikael will be able to live here for the next 30 years, the solutions will amount to significant savings for society,” he says.
Insights about specific requirements
Although Villa Mikael encourages independence, he won’t have to be on his own. On the other side of the atrium lies Villa Sanni, which will be the home of Mikael’s friend and carer Sanni Siltala with her spouse.
Villa Mikael, providing an accessible and healthy home that promotes rehabilitation and community living, offers some insights into specific living requirements. “Villa Mikael contains ideas that can also be used to help elderly people live independently. There is more and more demand for solutions like this in Finland and around the world,” says Honkarakenne CEO Marko Saarelainen.
Invitation to the press
We warmly welcome you to visit Villa Mikael and Villa Sanni on the media day of the Housing Fair, on Friday, 31 July 2020 at 9.30–10.00 am. Villa Mikael’s special solutions will be explained by Mikael’s father Petri Turtiainen as he presents the house. Honkarakenne’s CEO Marko Saarelainen will also be present to discuss the quality and sustainability of construction. Properties 6a and 6b, Pikkukarhunkierto 24a and 24b.
Honkarakenne’s other house, Honka Huomen, a smart urban home for good life (property 41), will be presented at 12.30–1.00 pm.
Energy efficient home
Villa Mikael & Villa Sanni (property 6) and Honka Huomen (property 41) are being monitored by the state’s sustainable development company, Motiva, in the Energy Efficient Home project. The project will follow the energy efficiency of three homes in the Housing Fair for two years. Villa Mikael, built using the Honka Frame pillar beam technique, has a preliminary energy efficiency rating of ‘A’. Honka Huomen is in energy efficiency class of ‘B’, only a small step from ‘A’, which is an excellent achievement for a house built entirely of logs. Read more: https://www.energiatehokaskoti.fi/kohteet/seurantakohteet
Honkarakenne Ltd supplies high-quality, healthy and ecological log homes, holiday homes and public buildings. Its buildings are made from Finnish solid wood under the Honka® brand. The company has delivered 85,000 buildings to over 50 countries. We manufacture our home packages in Finland, at our own factory located in Karstula. In 2019, Honkarakenne Group’s consolidated net sales totalled EUR 47.5 million, of which exports accounted for 34%. www.honka.fi
Additional information and interview requests
Learn more about Villa Mikael (property 6)