Wood has always been Finland’s preferred building material, as both nature and the forest has long provided a livelihood and enduring source of inspiration for Finnish artists and architects. Now, with the use of modern technology and new treatment methods, Finnish architects are pushing the boundaries of this conventional material to unleash new creative potential. To celebrate the reopening of the newly restored, Alvar Aalto-designed Finnish pavilion at the 2012 Venice Biennale, “New Forms in Wood” will highlight the work of young Finnish architects who have used wood inventively in their recent works.
Continue after the break to review the exhibition’s featured projects and architects.
The temporary World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 Pavilion designed by Wood Program at Aalto University on the basis of a concept by PYRY-PEKKA Kantonen exemplifies how innovation and research in wood technology is a key part of the education of architects and designers in Finland.
Alvar Aalto, renowned for his skillful treatment of wood architecture as well as furniture, was commissioned in 1956 to represent Finland at the International Exposition in Venice. Then, the wooden structure represented a rather unusual choice of building material by Venetian standards. Although it was originally intended for temporary usage only, the Aalto Pavilion has become a permanent fixture in La Giardini Biennale Park. However, last autumn the wooden structure was seriously damaged by a fallen tree during a storm. The accident prompted an in-depth exploration of the building’s history and construction technique, which inspired this year’s exhibition to celebrate contemporary expressions in Finnish architecture as part of a long tradition of wood building and as part of a shared frame of reference for all Finns.
The exhibition is curated by Juulia Kauste. Exhibition design by Esa Vesmanen, Pure Design.
The show is organized by the Museum of Finnish Architecture and supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland and World Design Capital Helsinki 2012. The exhibition is a satellite event organized as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 program.
Finland is also the organizer and a co-exhibitor in the Nordic Pavilion’s Light Houses: On the Nordic Common Ground exhibition – more details to come.