On her recent trip to Chile for the Finland-Chile Architecture Marathon lecture series we had the chance to chat with Juulie Kauste, the director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture (MFA) in Helsinki. “[MFA] has always had the dual mission of focusing on collecting the heritage of architecture in Finland as well as focusing on contemporary architecture both in Finland and internationally,” Kauste explained.
One of the oldest architecture-focused museums in the world, MFA is unusual in that not only do they archive the work of every Finnish architect, but they also play an active role in promoting Finnish architecture and participating in the global architectural community. At both the Shenzhen Biennale and the 2014 Venice Biennale, MFA hosted “Re-Creation,” an installation that used both traditional Finnish and Chinese construction techniques to explore the concepts of “copying” and “reinterpretation.”
“The key part of the role of the museum is to provide a platform for a discussion and debate around architecture and around the ways in which architecture matters to society,” Kauste said. “It’s very much about this idea of sharing information about architecture, making information about architecture available, but also understandable.”
See what else Kauste has to say about what the role of architecture museums should be, how the digital age is affecting museums and the benefits of cross-cultural collaboration in the full video interview above and check out some of our past coverage on MFA below.
The Guggenheim has announced the finalists in the competition to design Guggenheim Helsinki, whittling down the entrants from a record-breaking 1,715 submissions to just six. Representing both emerging and established practices with offices in seven countries, the shortlisted entries show a variety of responses to the challenge of creating a world-class museum.
The six finalists are:
- AGPS Architecture Ltd. (Zurich, Switzerland and Los Angeles, United States of America)
- Asif Khan Ltd. (London, United Kingdom)
- Fake Industries Architectural Agonism (New York, United States of America; Barcelona, Spain; and Sydney, Australia)
- Haas Cook Zemmrich STUDIO2050 (Stuttgart, Germany)
- Moreau Kusunoki Architect (Paris, France)
- SMAR Architecture Studio (Madrid, Spain and Western Australia)
Read on after the break to see all six designs in detail, as well as the jury’s comments on each.
A professor of economics, Sixten Korkman has chosen Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects‘ Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw as the winner of the inaugural Finlandia Prize for Architecture. The unconventional award, whose intent is to “increase public awareness of high quality Finnish architecture and highlights its benefits for our well-being,” enlisted a group of renowned architects to shortlist the finalists before “layman” Korkman selected the winner as an unbiased representative of the public who valued the building for the way it made him “feel.”
“The idea behind the prize undoubtedly resonates with me. In economics one talks about public goods and externalities, and the built environment is precisely these,” stated Korkman after announcing his decision.
“Whether the buildings are in private or public ownership is of no significance. We all see the architecture, experience the architecture, and architecture affects us all. Architecture undoubtedly affects our well-being and comfort: our built environment is our extended living room. In architecture there is also an egalitarian element. Fortunately the sun still shines for both poor and rich. Our built environment exists for us all.”
More about the winning building, after the break.
The city of Helsinki has announced plans for a design and build competition for a new commercial and residential district in Pasila, near the city centre. The competition, which calls for 8-10 buildings of 15 stories or more, will be part of the city’s drive to make Pasila the “second centre of Helsinki,” with a total of 150,000-200,000 square metres of residential and office space planned for the district. Read on after the break to find out more about the competition.
Despite Finland’s relatively cool temperatures, climate changes have made heat waves more common in Northern Europe, and the demand for cooling buildings in summer is increasing. Instead of installing air conditioners for individual buildings, Helsinki is pioneering a vast network of underground infrastructure that pumps cold water from lakes and seas into local buildings. Beneath an unassuming park in downtown Helsinki sits a reservoir containing nearly 9 million gallons of water that is recycled and cooled by waste energy after it is used for cooling, replacing the need for air conditioning in the city and cutting carbon pollution by 80%. Read more about this undertaking in this article from Fast Co. Exist.
The Mayor of Tampere has announced Danish architects COBE and Finnish Lundén Architecture as winners of an international competition for the Tampere Travel and Service Centre. The winning scheme, “Reconnecting Tampere” will join two disparate districts in the heart of Finland’s second largest city and establish a “new urban living room” beneath an expansive steel canopy.
”Tampere’s new Travel and Service Centre has not only the potential to become a gateway to Tampere and the rest of Finland, but also the potential of becoming a generator for the future development of the urban center of Tampere,” says Dan Stubbergaard, Founder and Creative Director of COBE.
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.”
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 Helsinki. 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.
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
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
From the Curators. The exhibition at the Nordic Pavilion has been titled FORMS OF FREEDOM: African Independence and Nordic Models. The exhibition 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.