New Images Take You Inside ALA’s Helsinki Central Library

Central Library. Image ©

Take a tour inside ALA Architect’s Helsinki Central Library with a new animation and set of images revealing the project’s spacious interiors. The project, which was awarded to ALA through an international competition, boasts a unique set of programs, such as a ground floor cinema, second story sauna, “Nerd Attic” and dreamy “Book Heaven” that is topped with a cloud-like undulating roof and includes a distinctive outdoor “Citizens’ Balcony.”

OfficeUS Propose Floating Museum for Guggenheim Helsinki Competition

Courtesy of © OfficeUS via cruises.officeus.org

When you visit the galleries of Guggenheim Helsinki, you may have to bring a life vest. This submission to the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition floats the idea of a museum over water, traveling between the ports of St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and . Proposed as a hypothetical submission to the worldwide contest, the team at OfficeUS delve into the notion of transience in the new world of architourism. The brief reads: “As a global freeport, the museum develops a completely new infrastructure, offering the strategic tax benefits of freeport art storage while enabling exhibitions of some of the most important pieces of modern art and design.” Upcoming exhibits include (hypothetically) Olafur Elliasson, Yves Klein and Thomas Demand.

HILA Pavilion / Digiwoodlab Project + University Of Oulu Students

Courtesy of Digiwoodlab Project

Architects: Digiwoodlab Project, University Of Oulu
Location: Kiikeli, Oulu,
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Digiwoodlab Project

Light Matters: Whiteness in Nordic Countries

Dybkær Church, Silkeborg, . Architecture: Regnbuen Arkitekter. Image © 2010

The Scandinavian countries have developed great buildings that resonate with both the scarce light in winter and the long summer days. Henry Plummer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has very carefully studied the various daylight phenomena in the Nordic countries, with extensive photo journeys and brilliant writing that combines an analytical perspective with a poetic touch. His view of daylight looks beyond the practical advantages of using reflective white spaces to facilitate bright rooms; the passionate photographer is much more interested in the light effects that play with the local beauty of nature and touch the human soul.

Read on for more about how Nordic light enters white spaces

House Riihi / OOPEAA

© Jussi Tiainen

Architects: OOPEAA
Location: 62900 , Finland
Architect In Charge: Anssi Lassila
Project Architect : Jussi-Pekka Vesala
Design Team: Iida Hedberg, Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä, Tommi Heinonen, Juha Pakkala
Area: 479.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Jussi Tiainen

Inside “Re-Creation” – Finland’s Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2014

Re-Creation. The Finnish Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale.. Image © Nico Saieh

Re-Creation is a two-part installation based on a concept by Anssi Lassila. One part of the installation was constructed by a Finnish master carpenter and his team, and the other by a Chinese team. Together the two parts of the installation strike up a subtle and complex dialogue between the architects and local builders.

Presented by the pavilion designed by Alvar Aalto in 1956, the installation “takes a stand on our relationship with the modern legacy and its tradition of international dialogue, and represents a quintessential product of topical international dialogue while at the same time offering its own unique interpretation of the dynamic between tradition and modernity.” See images of the pavilion and enjoy a statement from the curators after the break.

“Forms of Freedom: African Independence and Nordic Models” – The Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

From the Curators. The at the Nordic Pavilion has been titled FORMS OF FREEDOM: African Independence and Nordic Models. The explores and documents how modern Nordic architecture was an integral part of Nordic aid to East Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. The resulting architecture is of a scope and quality that has not previously been comprehensively studied or exhibited.

Dutch Students To Build Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia From Ice

Montage. Image Courtesy of

A team of students from Eindhoven University are to build a forty metre high model of Antonio Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia. The project, which follows the completion of the world’s biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from and reinforced with wood fibres. Impressively, the 1:4 scale model will be built in only three weeks. Thin layers of water and snow will be sprayed onto large, inflated molds. The pykrete (water mixed with sawdust) will be immediately absorbed by the snow before freezing. According to the organisers, “the wood fiber content makes the material three times as strong as normal ice, and it’s also a lot tougher.” Find out more about the project here.

Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition

The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, first open international competition organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, was officially launched today. Submission deadline for stage one is September 10. A jury that includes Mark Wigley, Jeanne Gang, Juan Herreros, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto will announce the shortlist during Fall 2014.

Following a detailed Concept and Development Study by the Foundation, the City of Helsinki has reserved a prominent waterfront site for the architectural competition of the proposed museum. The site is located in the Eteläsatama, or South Harbor area, an urban space of great national and cultural significance, close to the historic city center and immediately visible to visitors arriving by sea.

It is envisaged that the Guggenheim Helsinki would organize and present internationally significant exhibitions of artworks from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries while also specializing in Nordic art and architecture. Within the Guggenheim Foundation’s international constellation of museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Helsinki would be distinctive in its active inclusion of design and architecture in its programming.

Malcolm Reading Consultants are running the design competition. All enquiries should be directed here. For complete information please visit the competition’s official website.

KCAP Wins Joint First Prize in Eteläpuisto Park Tampere Competition

Dock View. Image © KCAP Architects & Planner

KCAP Architects & Planners has recently won a shared first place title in the Eteläpuisto Park competition for the city of , Finland. The competition brief specified that entries were required to create an “urban residential area and provide for programs suitable for the city structure and for the landscape.” Recreational access to the nearby lake shore was required, as was enabling access to Tampere’s Hämeenpuisto Esplanade. KCAP’s residential park proposal was chosen unanimously by the competition jury from six total entries.

Kettukallio / Playa Architects

© Tuomas Uusheimo

Architects: Playa Architects
Location: 52550 Hirvensalmi,
Area: 122.0 sqm
Year: 2009
Photographs: Tuomas Uusheimo

Omenapuisto Day-Care-Center / Hakli Architects

© Jussi Tiainen

Architects: Hakli Architects
Location: ,
Architectural Design: Seppo Häkli, Matti Tervonen
Area: 890 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jussi Tiainen

House M-M / Tuomas Siitonen Office

© Tuomas Uusheimo

Architects: Tuomas Siitonen Office
Location: Helsinki,
Area: 145.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Tuomas Uusheimo, Maija Luutonen

5 Teams Shortlisted to Redesign Tampere Travel Interchange

Site Area. Image © BLOM

To accommodate for the inevitable growth in population, , ’s second largest city has shortlisted five teams to reimagine its largest railway station. With of vision of the Railway Station becoming a lively multi-functional city area by 2030, competitors have been asked to design an overall masterplan that will guide future development for the travel and service center area. The following architect-led teams have each received €80,000 to participate:

Venice Biennale 2014: Nordic Pavilion to Study Architecture’s Role in East African Independence

FORMS OF FREEDOM. Kenyatta International Conference Center, Nairobi, Kenya. 1966–1973. Architect: Karl Henrik Nøstvik.. Image © David Keith Jones

The National Museum in Norway has been chosen to curate the Nordic Pavilion for the 2014 Architecture Biennale, in collaboration with the , the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design in Stockholm, and architectural firm Space Group. The exhibition, “FORMS OF FREEDOM: African Independence and Nordic Models” will study modern Nordic architecture’s role in the liberation of East Africa during the 1960s and 70s.

What the Guggenheim Should Consider Before Building in Helsinki

The / Frank Gehry. Image © Flickr User: Iker Merodio

The Guggenheim is planning a new museum in Helsinki. The site is in the heart of the city, next door to the late 19th Century market hall and open-air market place, two minutes from Cathedral. The project, therefore, has great landmark potential for the city. And many Finns are lured by this very potential, wanting to increase tourism and put their capital city more evidently on the world map. There has also been discussion in the country’s main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat about how Finns should welcome a more joyous and fun architecture.

Destination-creation and architecture as entertainment are certainly strong themes of our times.  They were treated with great artistry by Frank Gehry with the Bilbao Guggenheim, opened in 1997. However, it’s important to remember that the Bilbao Guggenheim might best be considered a spectacular one-off. Mayors, politicians and world leaders have since sought, in perhaps too facile a way, to rebrand their cities and countries with iconic landmarks. There has been much talk of making cities “world class” through such architectural gestures, and yet much of this marketer’s fodder is wholly out of touch with what makes great architecture great.

Tampere Travel and Service Centre Design Competition

The City of , the Finnish Transport Agency, the VR-Group and Senate Properties are organizing an international design contest for the Tampere Travel and Service Centre and its environs. The design contest for the travel and service centre is looking for a shared vision for the area’s development as well as shared view on the guidelines for future measures.

The competitors’ task is to create an overall plan for the travel and service centre area that is of high quality in terms of its services and congruence with the cityscape. The travel and service centre area must incorporate the following elements: a travel and service centre that serves different modes of public transport; easy accessibility by different modes of travel; pleasant urban spaces as well as high-quality office, service and housing construction. This is an ideas competition.

Sauna Tonttu / Anssi Lassila – Lassila Hirvilammi

© Mikko Auerniitty

Architects: Lassila Hirvilammi
Location: 63800 Soini,
Architect In Charge: Anssi Lassila
Builders: tmi Petri Piipponen
Area: 16.0 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Mikko Auerniitty