Our proposed design for the Museum of Forest Finn Culture uses light to provide a reflective, connected and ephemeral experience of the Forest Finn’s nomadic and agronomist lifestyle.  Ultimately, the design aims to establish a relationship between people, context and environment by capturing the change in light throughout the seasons.


A series of layered timber roofs is designed to control and affect light passing through the building, much like a forest canopy collects and filters sunlight. These roofs also curate the use and journey of the museum. Natural light, and its absence, guides the route of the museum visitor experience, connecting the space to the cycle of slash and burn and the surrounding environment. Starting in darkened exhibit rooms, symbolic of the dense foliage the Forest Finns would have encountered, the journey continues through spaces of dappled light to open, light-drenched areas with views to the river and surrounding forests. From forest to clearing, the exhibition culminates in an architectural opening that forms a welcoming public square for the village of Svullrya.


The roofs of the temporary and permanent exhibition areas have varied heights, depths and material densities to create dynamic and delightful spaces. They actively affect the internal experience and provide contextual and engaging forms externally, encouraging intrigue and curiosity in the museum. Academic and administrative areas are set beneath evenly segmented roofs with wide rooflights for effective learning and working in distinct spaces. The library, auditorium and meeting space are positioned around the public square along with the cafe to create an active civic space that can be used by the local residents, visitors to the region as well as museum users. A covered external area can be accessed from the square and cafe and also the office for employees.


Our proposal utilises local materials, modern methods of construction and themes drawn from the Forest Finn culture, resulting in a functional and flexible layout that also creates surprise and delight for visitors from near and far.

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Project credits


  • Architect: Tom Lea
  • Architectural Assistant: Eugenia Pavone
  • Visualiser: David Deroo

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