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Video: Ascend the Ziggurat in the Nordic Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 27 June, 2016

In this film, Jesús Granada visits the Nordic Pavilion, “In Therapy”, at the 2016 Venice Biennale. The video presents a series of measured stills in 4K resolution which introduce the central installation of the exhibition—a stepped pyramid, or ziggurat—and its series of reflective "rooms without walls." The pavilion itself, which was completed in 1969, was designed by Sverre Fehn to partially reflect and concretize certain ideas about Nordic society and its architecture – including a sense of openness. This year, therefore, the pavilion has been orchestrated as an extension of the public space of the Giardini.

OP Headquarters / JKMM Architects

15:00 - 17 June, 2016
OP Headquarters  / JKMM Architects, Courtesy of JKMM Architects
Courtesy of JKMM Architects

Courtesy of JKMM Architects Courtesy of JKMM Architects Courtesy of JKMM Architects Courtesy of JKMM Architects +22

  • Architects

  • Location

    Teollisuuskatu 1, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
  • Area

    130000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of JKMM Architects

In Therapy: Inside the Nordic Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

03:15 - 31 May, 2016
In Therapy: Inside the Nordic Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, The central installation (the pyramid) is encloses, but does not hide, the three remaining original trees inside the pavilion. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu
The central installation (the pyramid) is encloses, but does not hide, the three remaining original trees inside the pavilion. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu

As part of ArchDaily's coverage of the 2016 Venice Biennale, we are presenting a series of articles written by the curators of the exhibitions and installations on show.

You are part of another’s shadow.
—Sverre Fehn in conversation with Per Olaf Fjeld

A central impetus for this exhibition is to acknowledge the presence of the ‘ghosts’ of Nordic architecture – those architects, theorists and educators—the most famous of which are often described as ‘Modern Masters’—who continue to exert influence on contemporary practice and pedagogy. Indeed, one of the most prominent of these gures, the Norwegian Sverre Fehn, designed the Nordic Pavilion. This exhibition addresses a common challenge faced by Finns, Norwegians and Swedes today: how can a building (or an exhibition, in this instance) exist in a dialogue with its setting when that setting is so charged? For us, this ties into a broader question: how can architecture occupy a legacy while still making progress?

The pyramid, built from Swedish pine, represents an inhabitable installation – an urban artefact in a very public pavilion. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu Intimate "Rooms Without Walls" sit next to the main installation. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu The pyramid is a "discourse machine," designed to allow people to critically discuss the issues at the heart of the exhibition in an open air environment. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu The pyramid exists in dialogue with the building. Here, it's relationship with the existing staircase is made apparent. Image © Laurian Ghinitoiu +42

JKMM Office / JKMM Architects

03:00 - 6 May, 2016
JKMM Office  / JKMM Architects, © Marc Goodwin
© Marc Goodwin

© Marc Goodwin © Marc Goodwin © Marc Goodwin © Marc Goodwin +29

Lahti Travel Centre / JKMM Architects

03:00 - 5 May, 2016
Lahti Travel Centre / JKMM Architects , © Mika Huisman
© Mika Huisman

© Mika Huisman © Mika Huisman © Mika Huisman © Mika Huisman +29

AD Classics: Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art / Steven Holl Architects

04:30 - 19 April, 2016
AD Classics: Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art / Steven Holl Architects, © Ari Palm
© Ari Palm

The very concept of an art gallery implies an inward focus. While the need to showcase the cultural treasures contained within is self-evident, the need to connect these sheltered exhibition spaces to the outside world is less so, and in some cases is overlooked entirely. Even monumental design that turns the museum itself into a sculptural element may fail to make a reference to its particular surroundings. This sense of 'placelessness' is what Steven Holl sought to avoid in his design for an art museum at the heart of Helsinki, Kiasma – a museum whose carefully choreographed outward views, formally irregular gallery spaces,, and indeed its very name speak to the ideal of connection.

© Pirje Mykkaenen © Pirje Mykkaenen © Petri Virtanen © Pirje Mykkaenen +14

10 Projects by Alvar Aalto Which Highlight the Breadth of His Built Work

09:30 - 3 April, 2016

Alvar Aalto was born in Alajärvi in central Finland and raised in Jyväskylä. Following the completion of his architectural studies at the Helsinki University of Technology he founded his own practice in 1923, based in Jyväskylä, and naming it Alvar Aalto, Architect and Monumental Artist. Although many of his early projects are characteristic examples of 'Nordic Classicism' the output of his practice would, following his marriage to fellow Architect Aino Marsio-Aalto (née Marsio), take on a Modernist aesthetic. From civic buildings to culture houses, university centers to churches, and one-off villas to student dormitories, the ten projects compiled here—spanning 1935 to 1978—celebrate the breadth of Aalto's œuvre.

AD Classics: Nordic Pavilion in Venice / Sverre Fehn

09:00 - 30 March, 2016
AD Classics: Nordic Pavilion in Venice / Sverre Fehn, The Nordic Pavilion (Giardini, Venice). Image © Åke E:son Lindman
The Nordic Pavilion (Giardini, Venice). Image © Åke E:son Lindman

Three were originally invited to draw up plans for a ‘Nordic’ pavilion: the Finnish partnership Reima and Raili Pietilä, Sverre Fehn from Norway, and the Swede, Klas Anshelm. Following the selection of Fehn’s proposal in 1959, Gotthard Johansson wrote in the Svenska Dagbladet of the project’s “stunning simplicity [...], without too many architectural overtones”[1] – a proposal for a space able to unite a triumvirate of nations under one (exceptional) roof.

The Nordic Pavilion (Giardini, Venice). Image © Åke E:son Lindman The Nordic Pavilion (Giardini, Venice). Image © Åke E:son Lindman The Nordic Pavilion (Giardini, Venice). Image © Åke E:son Lindman The Nordic Pavilion (Giardini, Venice). Image © Åke E:son Lindman +30

AD Classics: Jyväskylä University Building / Alvar Aalto

09:00 - 28 March, 2016
AD Classics: Jyväskylä University Building / Alvar Aalto, © Nico Saieh
© Nico Saieh

Jyväskylä, a city whose status as the center of Finnish culture and academia during the nineteenth century earned it the nickname “the Athens of Finland,” awarded Alvar Aalto the contract to design a university campus worthy of the city’s cultural heritage in 1951. Built around the pre-existing facilities of Finland’s Athenaeum, the new university would be designed with great care to respect both its natural and institutional surroundings.

The city of Jyväskylä was by no means unfamiliar to Aalto; he had moved there as a young boy with his family in 1903 and returned to form his practice in the city after qualifying as an architect in Helsinki in 1923. He was well acquainted with Jyväskylä’s Teacher Seminary, which had been a bastion of the study of the Finnish language since 1863. Such an institution was eminently important in a country that had spent most of its history as part of either Sweden or Russia. As such, the teaching of Finnish was considered an integral part of the awakening of the fledgling country’s national identity.[1]

© Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh © Nico Saieh +24

Floating Restaurant / Simo Freese Architects

05:00 - 16 March, 2016
Floating Restaurant / Simo Freese Architects, © AVP-Ilmakuvaus
© AVP-Ilmakuvaus

© Simo Freese © Antti Luutonen © Simo Freese © Esko Tuomisto +17

How a Soviet Governmental Residence, the K-2 Dacha, Became a "Manifestation of the Finnish Dream"

04:00 - 15 March, 2016
How a Soviet Governmental Residence, the K-2 Dacha, Became a "Manifestation of the Finnish Dream", The K-2 Dacha, St. Petersburg. Image © Egor Rogalev
The K-2 Dacha, St. Petersburg. Image © Egor Rogalev

In this article, which originally appeared in the Calvert JournalKsenia Litvinenko narrates the story of the K-2 Dacha – a governmental residence in St. Petersburg which sought to shrug off Russian Classicism and Soviet Modernism in favor of the principles of Finnish Modernism. Illustrated by photographs by Egor Rogalev and researched alongside Vladimir Frolov, this article examines a Modernist gem that you probably won't have heard of, or seen, before.

If you ever find yourself in St. Petersburg, take a taxi along the Pesochnaya embankment, far away from the polished attractions of the city centre. Sit back and watch the landscape changing on the other bank of the Malaya Nevka. Among the trees you will see the former dachas of Russian nobles, private residences of local officials and the buildings of the new elite, overlooking the river. This is the best and perhaps the only perspective from which to see the K-2 dacha.

© Egor Rogalev © Egor Rogalev © Egor Rogalev © Egor Rogalev +13

AD Classics: House of Culture / Alvar Aalto

05:00 - 14 March, 2016
AD Classics: House of Culture / Alvar Aalto, Courtesy of Flickr user Wotjek Gurak
Courtesy of Flickr user Wotjek Gurak

Originally built as the headquarters for the Finnish Communist Party, the House of Culture (Kultuuritalo in Finnish) has since established itself as one of Helsinki’s most popular concert venues.[1] Comprising a rectilinear copper office block, a curved brick auditorium, and a long canopy that binds them together, the House of Culture represents the pinnacle of Alvar Aalto’s work with red brick architecture in the 1950s.

AD Classics: Säynätsalo Town Hall / Alvar Aalto

06:00 - 9 March, 2016
AD Classics: Säynätsalo Town Hall / Alvar Aalto, © Fernanda Castro
© Fernanda Castro

Occupying the center of a small farming town in Finland, Säynätsalo’s Town Hall might appear almost too monumental for its context. Designed by Alvar Aalto in 1949, the town hall is a study in opposition: elements of classicism and the monumental blended with modernity and intimacy to form a cohesive new center-point for the community. These and other aspects of the design initially proved somewhat divisive, and the Town Hall has not been without controversy since its inception.

Courtesy of Flickr user Leon Courtesy of Wikimedia user Zache Courtesy of Wittenborn & Company Courtesy of Flickr user Leon +13

Look Inside a Selection of Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Architecture Offices, Photographed by Marc Goodwin

04:00 - 9 March, 2016
Look Inside a Selection of Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish Architecture Offices, Photographed by Marc Goodwin, Inside the studios of Jägnefält Milton. Image © Marc Goodwin
Inside the studios of Jägnefält Milton. Image © Marc Goodwin

Architectural photographer Marc Goodwin has recently completed "the ultra-marathon of photoshoots:" twenty-eight architectural offices in twenty-eight days, spread across four capital cities – Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Helsinki. His aim was to understand what sort of spaces architects in the Nordic countries operate in, and how they differ between each respective country. From former boathouses to stables and coal deposits, Goodwin has captured some of the most unique working environments the profession has to offer.

Studiopuisto. Image © Marc Goodwin Tham & Videgård. Image © Marc Goodwin Leth & Gori. Image © Marc Goodwin Norrøn. Image © Marc Goodwin +33

Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation Initiates International Idea Challenge

05:10 - 4 March, 2016
Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation Initiates International Idea Challenge

The lifework of Tapio Wirkkala and Rut Bryk has had a deep impact on the shaping of Finnish and Scandinavian design identities. The duo was open to new thoughts, easily excitable and pioneers in their field in many senses. Throughout their careers in design and teaching, Tapio Wirkkala and Rut Bryk offered new paradigms to designers, students and ordinary citizens in post-war Finland. 

Community Centre Kastelli / Lahdelma & Mahlamäki

05:00 - 2 March, 2016
Community Centre Kastelli / Lahdelma & Mahlamäki, © KUVIO
© KUVIO

© KUVIO © KUVIO © KUVIO © KUVIO +19

Finnish Nature Center Haltia / Lahdelma & Mahlamäki

03:00 - 29 February, 2016
Finnish Nature Center Haltia / Lahdelma & Mahlamäki, © Mika Huisman
© Mika Huisman

© Mika Huisman © Mika Huisman © Mika Huisman © Leuku Oy_Voitto Niemelä +40

Pauhu Pavilion Constructed for Tampere Architecture Week in Finland

12:00 - 28 February, 2016
Pauhu Pavilion Constructed for Tampere Architecture Week in Finland, Courtesy of Tampere Architecture Week
Courtesy of Tampere Architecture Week

The Pauhu pavilion was constructed as part of TampereFinland's 2015 Tampere Architecture Week, an annual event that aims to explore ideas about architecture and urban design by bringing together design students and professionals from the city. The 2015 theme -- interaction -- brought forth a discussion between architects and other citizens of Tampere.

The pavilion functions as an open-stage for performances and public debates, and also aims to promote forward-thinking ideas about the innovative use of wood in architecture. The name “Pauhu” refers to the “distant roar generated by the Tampere rapids, by the city around the pavilion, as well as by the artists and presenters the pavilion is hosting.”