“In the beginning was the roaring sea. Powerful waves lifted from the depths a wooden block, already darkened by seawater, and threw it against a rock. The force of the blow broke the wood in the middle.” So writes architect Pieta-Linda Auttila of the inspiration behind the form of her remarkable wooden cabin. Featuring an extraordinary manipulation of wood that undulates as if it was plastic, this is a microstructure that goes beyond the functional and demonstrates the possibilities of design with wood.

Conceived in 2009 as a prototype for a vacation home, Auttila’s cabin became something of an architectural sensation when it was installed in Helsinki and opened as the temporary Wisa Wooden Design Hotel. With an internal atrium at its center, glass walls at the front and back, and openings between the curved planks of wood that create an interplay of light and shade, the cabin might be designed specifically for a seaside location but would make the most of any plot with views.

Now resting elsewhere in Finland, in the depths of a National Park, Auttila’s microcabin is still available to order by those in the market for a weekend retreat. But commercial success as a cabin was never the architect’s main aim. Instead, Auttila sought to showcase what wood can become with the use of new technologies. As she says: “By bending the block I forced the slats into a new form that contrasts with the original arrangement. That which is solid turns partly transparent, that which is strictly geometrical, organic.”