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In the round:A circular house, Vartiokylä, Finland by R2K Architects.

View from outside.

Photos: Jussi Tiainen.

It is one thing to put a lift in your building and perhaps other features to improve its accessibility, but it is quite another thing to conceive a house that is seamlessly accessible throughout. This house designed by Olavi Koponen in 2009, is a rare thing: a house that was purpose designed for a man who has been confined to a wheelchair since a young age.

The house has many excellent qualities, but arguably its most successful characteristic is that there is no hint of compromise because its occupant happens to use a wheelchair.

The circular floor plan suggests the philosophical concept of the wheel of life which is explored conceptually in the plan. There is no direction of use to the room sequence as such, giving the home an informality based on convenience and the enjoyment of nature. The first point, is of course essential given the access requirements, the second point was the other stipulation of the client's brief. It inspired, amongst other things, the central courtyard.

In his typical style the architect uses timber cladding which has been treated by heating. This modifies the wood structure making it unnecessary to treat it with chemicals. The effect is a natural finish that bears only the marks of the sawmill for decoration.

Exterior perspective.

with snow

View of courtyard.


A circular opening.

courtyard in summer.

Courtyard in spring.

Internal corridor.

Corner detail.

Internal garden.


Gratitude to floornature.


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