The Aalto University has been created in Helsinki. Made up of the current Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design, its doors will open August of 2009. Its quite big news because of the groupings these represent. Design, Technology and Economics meaning that policy makers in Finland clearly think that for Finland economically the way ahead is with technology based design in different disciplines.
Apart form being forward thinking to take this attitude, its of course a little controversial, how influential will the economics department be on the artists so to speak, and how well can they or should they integrate? I think there is probably a deeper underlying trend also and that is not only design as a key economic leader but that design and high technology are more and more integrated subconsciously into our daily lives and this is a common theme universally across disciplines.
Juha Ilionen a Finnish Architect has a website of 31 proposals for the centre of Helsinki. Living room Helsinki is all in Finnish but covers a series of different interventions into the fabric of the centre to improve it and create or add to existing public space with a variety of functions. Some are larger proposals and some are little vignettes which would add almost imperceptibly except for the very immediate residents around. Overall I love this series of proposals and hope and wish someone in the planning office in the city has the foresight to implement at least some of them.
Monocle a magazine I like (wish I could love it, but can’t just yet) has published their annual review of most liveable cities (also see this ft article). Helsinki is up to no.5 (I think it was something like no.12 last year). Continue reading
The Norwegian Collection of Potential Architecture is beautiful idea about preserving and distributing the unrealised projects of Norweigian Architects. Like ruined Simulacra.
Archigramâ€™s Walking Cities, Koolhaasâ€™s Parc de la Villette, Mies van der Roheâ€™s Project for an Office Building in Friedrichstrasse in Berlin, BoullÃ©eâ€™s Newtonâ€™s Cenotaph, Le Courbusierâ€™s Contemporary City for Three Million Inhabitants and Sverre Fehnâ€™s Royal Theatre in Copenhagen are all examples of unrealised projects that have influenced the world in different ways. Never built, but still representing significant contributions to the development of the discipline, of cities and of society.
Helsinki City Planning Department has a new public exhibition space, cafe and forum in the Centre of Helsinki called Laituri on Narinka square. The city which really boomed once after WWII is changing again over the next few years drastically and there are massive plans being made. This is a place where they can be shown, and debated which is really great, hopefully it can be a great forum for debate on the future of the city.
Every two years the Museum of Finnish Architecture (MFA) puts on an exhibition of the best 25 buildings by Finnish Architects over the previous two years. 0607 Started last week in Helsinki and is shortly opening in Paris in their Architecture centre also, but I have assembled a guide to each building in the exhibition just in case you aren’t in Helsinki or Paris this summer, or are in Finland and actually want to visit a building or two. Its a kml which you can download in google earth or view in google maps (see the links at the bottom of this post). I have visited some of the buildings already and thought to write a few words about it before I go.
Firstly I think its a fair reflection of where Finnish Architecture is today and the only building I know about and that I’m surprised is not in is the Kotilo or Seashell house by house by Olavi Koponen. Private houses and public competition lead schemes provide most of the best work with Sandels Cultural Centre by Juha LeiviskÃ¤ being one that stands out for me in particular, maybe because I have visited it.
Housing is again the week link in the exhibition, and shows up I would say are major weaknesses in the housing market in Finland. Apartment blocks here really are basically terribly boring. Both the construction method which is universally precast elemental block design and the conceptualisation of these designs is monotonous in the extreme non of the invention and risk taking evident in Danish housing at the moment are on show here. Even a cursory look at 0607 and then the previous buildings published in the previous two exhibitions in 0504 and 0302 would show you that in this area Finnish design is stagnant, staid and doesn’t serve the public well at all. A notable exception is the Triadi apartments by Huttunenâ€“Lipastiâ€“Pakkanen architects, was it a private commission? – I’ll see if I can find out .
Also why not a proper website for this exhibition and the previous ones? If you want to market Finnish Architecture design to the world you must include this method. It was actually done better previously see Finland Bygger website which covers Finnish Architetcure between the years 1992-97 before this current bi-annual format was launched. This format is, I think, an excellent way to provide a continuously updating overview of the Architecture scene here, the missing exhibition website is a big oversight however if you want to push Finnish Architecture internationally.
The kml I have made is a network link so when I update locations and descriptions after I see the exhibition in person, the file will also update automatically, in the meantime I hope you find it interesting. I will also at some point soon add the previous two exhibitions to the file. It is also worth noting that at the moment Google Earth has surprisingly bad imaging outside of Helsinki. Tampere and Turku Finland’s next biggest cities and with populations approaching 200,000 have no good satelite data at all, please google I hope you can change this soon.
FINNISH ARCHITECTURE 0607 is at the MFA between (4.6.2008 – 28.9.2008)
0607KML (GoogleEarth network link)(Googlemaps)