In a follow-up to my post about Glenn Murcutt. I went to a lecture about Murcutts’ work given by Juhani Pallasmaa at the MFA on 24th April this year. Some things I didn’t know were that Pallasmaa and Murcutt are really very close ‘like brothers’ he said. I also saved a quote of Glenns that Juhani gave during the lecture and many of the themes talked about by Juhani come out in this talk given by Glenn I found on YouTube. Public Talk with Glenn Murcutt
I love buildings with order. I find chaotic buildings too close to my real nature. I am an untidy human without a frame of reference. I’m like a bagperson. I get great pleasure in having a frame of reference that establishes what I can and cannot do. The zones developed by framing allow an ease of order yet can provide great flexibility. It’s like structure in music, an order which the composer will develop as layers of complexity that add richness within the established order. – Glenn Murcutt
The MFA in Helsinki currently is hosting an exhibition on the Australian Architect Glenn Murcutt. Architecture for Place shows off a selection of Murcutt’s projects through photos, drawings and models.
The drawings sometime blown up show all the stages of the design, ‘napkin’ sketches to working drawings. One of my favourite drawings is a page of sketchs and notes on a roof and details sent as a fax, dated and a ‘with love Glenn’ at the bottom. The models, all sectional have the sectional drawing attached to the back showing they are less concerned with an investigation of the spacial qualities of the building than of the way the materials are put together. Continue reading
The city of Kiruna has announced the winner of the competition to effectively move the city away from the subsidence radiating from the iron mine which is slowly swallowing the old city. Kiruna 4-ever won by White Architects AB (Stockholm), Ghilardi + Hellsten (Oslo), Spacescape (Stockholm), Vectura Consulting AB (Solna) and Evidence BLW AB (Stockholm).
Because of what must be one of the largest mines in Europe Kiruna is the biggest energy consumer in Sweden coupled with a relatively extreme northerly climate the redesign of Kiruna is a big and interesting urban challenge. The winning proposal has at it’s heart in many ways the introduction of a cable car system to link the mine the new center and other key points of the city.
The event itself, a week or so into the new year, will involve little fuss, simply a few households moving into refurbished flats. But the symbolism is momentous: a rebirth for one of Britain’s most infamous housing estates and a half-century of turbulent social history coming full circle. (the Guardian)
Urban splash have after eight years managed to renovate some of the Brutalist masterpiece Park Hill. It looks like the second incarnation won’t have the social baggage of the first and therefore has a much better chance of being successful.
The Kamppi Chapel of Silence by K2S Architects sits newly built on the corner of Narinkka square outside the Kamppi shopping center. It is the newest, busiest and usually liveliest square and thoroughfare in the city, and until now remorselessly commercial. Meant as a place of contemplation it is a single room made of alder wood planks.
The first time I went I really liked the chapel from the inside, the outside shape I loved but wondered whether the cladding was a little too orange and wondered why the building was not bisymmetrical, the back bow of the building is flatter than the front and I thought this was a little odd.
However passing it by a few times since I have decided I love the shape from all angles and the orange should both weather better in time and do better in the dark winter to come. Definitely one to visit.
The temporary pavilion erected as a hub for Helsinki’s World Design Capital activities is a lovely way to engage people in the design life of the city. The building sits in the car park between the design and architecture museums which sit back to back facing away from each other. It complements them well and brings them, under a canopy, together.
Cafe and space for lectures, films, performances take up most of the space with a reading corner overflow. There are no walls to speak of only curtains and visiting on a beautiful sunny hot summer day I liked the way the spaces bleed out to the street. Maybe a pavilion here as a center for design related activities in the city could become an annual or biannual thing as the museums themselves don’t have good gathering spaces and this provides a very public realm with great flexibility.
The building is birch ply, steel plates and polycarbonate roofing. It succeeds well in providing a spacious and dynamic feeling space.
See my other photos of the pavilion on flickr.
The design team:
Markus Heinonen, Architecture Department
Marko Hämäläinen, Structures
Pyry Kantonen, Architecture Department
Janne Kivelä, Architecture Department
Wilhelmiina Kosonen, Interior Design Department
Inka Saini, Interior Design Department
Pekka Heikkinen,Ransu Helenius, Risto Huttunen, Mikko Paakkanen, Karola Sahi
Recently for the first time I went to visit a Futuro building. The Futuro is a prefabricated plastic flying saucer shaped house designed by Matti Suuronen in 1968 for use as a ski lodge. It wasn’t that successful at the time maybe only 60 being manufactured until it was canceled in 1973 in the face of the world oil crisis. However since then the Futuro has developed a status not just in Finnish design circles but globally and online.
Photo by Tuomas Uusheimo (from ALA website)
Kilden is a concert hall and theatre by ALA Architects. It has just been finished and hit the newsstands and blogs. It is a major work for Finnish Architecture, and it looks amazing. Ark magazine features it in their first edition of 2012, along with an interview of the ALA partners with Bjarke Ingels with which at least some of them worked together at OMA from which I’ll quote from it if only to encourage you to order a copy.
lngels: Normally I would be very sceptical of something that is, even in your own words, so purely decorative as the premise of this building. But I think this actually accounts for a lot of your work. There’s a certain effortlessness, in this case it’s framed with a perfect diagonal cut and then there are some seemingly effortless light-hearted shapes… in Danish you would say suveræne, although ‘sovereign’ sounds weird in English. A single gesture that almost becomes undisputable, even though you can argue that it creates different entrances and pockets. But the relationship between what it does and exactly how is not that bureaucratic – in fact there’s nothing neurotic about it. It may also be Finnish sensibility: you can be really crude, basic and pragmatic in general but sometimes, if you’re going to party, you party hard.
Grönholm: Thanks for that, that’s beautifully said.
Ingels: I think that’s maybe what is unique about Aalto. Most of the time, he is quite a functional and rational modernist – really by the book. Then he has these moments of unapologetic poetry.
Grönholm: Suvereeni in Finnish.
Some more pictures in Domus.
I really love this prefabricated, multi-modular Alpine lodge designed by Leapfactory. Dezeen has all the simply stunning photos.
With a lot less exposure than the Central Library competition but with much potential the city of Espoo has launched a competition for a masterplan of Finnoo-Kaitaa for 20,000 people. There has just previously been a masterplan report made (download pdf here ) by WSP Finland who won the Helsinki 2050 competition a few years back. This site has previous as it was featured in Europan 09 with a winning entry that caught my eye at the time. It would be centred between the harbour and as yet unconfirmed station on the west leg of the metro. The City of Espoo seems to be saying all the right things like trying to make this development carbon neutral by 2030. Could we see a properly urban plan enacted somewhere in Espoo soon? Go here for competition details.
Danish Architects Lundgaard & Trandberg winning proposal for a ‘Living Harbour’ in the Telakkaranta area, Hietalahti docks, Helsinki. This is part of the old dock area which now is mostly empty and being rebuilt. This is the year that continued the small but growing trend that started I think in 2010 in which foreign Architects actually have a chance to build something here.
B.I.G. has won a limited competition for a new Ski resort in Levi in the North of Finland. With a skiable roof and a looping circular plan. Having been to a few Finnish ski resorts including Levi it will be nice to see something different than faux swiss chalet for a change. (via)
So I just found out that Imre Makovecz the Hungarian Architect had died a few months ago. I wrote my first dissertation on him back in ’92 -´93. In the Summer of 1992 his office was one stop for me on my Eurorail tour. I went to his studio one day, looked round the office and talked to a few Architects there. Then I spent the next couple of days visiting Makovecz buildings.
At that time being just at the beginning of my Architectural studies I found his buildings so refreshingly different. They are not just organic but highly anthropomorphic. Handcrafted within a national and religious folk art tradition but less from traditional Architecture even in Hungary. His designs seemingly bypassed 500 years of history.
But the highpoint of his fame outside of Hungary proved to be his Hungarian pavilion at the ’92 Seville expo. His designs relied on craftsmanship in a way that the modern world doesn’t. The economics of his buildings in a repressed communist Hungary made sense. In a capitalistic market economy Hungary started to become, the economics probably increasingly opposed his way of building. There was talk of a school design in Paris, and he came to the UK in the mid nineties and talked to Prince Charles but nothing came of these excursions.
At their best his buildings speak to us at a more primordial level. There is haunting beauty and charming naivety by turns. But his buildings always left me affected.
Certainly Housing Construction in Finland has a few characteristics that most definitely don’t set it apart from other countries. It is conservative, standardised and utilises prefabrication and concrete to a large degree. Some things are harder to change than others but one thing that just might be changing for the better is in the replacement with much of the concrete with timber.
I already wrote something about the new found ability of Finnish builders to build hi-rise timber framed buildings. But now we could make major updates to our existing building stock and develop new forms of prefabricated and highly insulated timber panel system also.
The student residence building of Pohjalankaleva in Oulu was the first project in Finland to be renovated with a Timber Based Element System or TES for short ( part of the International TES project). Already a second building renovation taking place following the pilot project is in Peltosaari, Riihimäki and hopefully should pave the way for this method of renovation to be taken up more widely which should in turn bring further time and cost benefits.
The best thing about this system is that it promises not just to bring your old building up to current building standards but far beyond. Passive House standards are being aimed for which in Finland that means the following;
In the project PEP – Promotion of European Passive houses, VTT suggested a definition for Finnish passive houses, where the requirements are:
Heating energy demand max. 20 – 30 kWh/m2
(depending on the location)
Air tightness of the building envelope n50 max. 0.6 1/h
Total primary energy consumption 130 – 140 kWh/m2 (via)
Maybe we can start to lead the building industry in the use of timber based construction methods to not only improve new builds but update our existing buildings without sacrificing cutting edge building standards.
- TES report (pdf) from the Helsinki University of Technology (HUT)
- TES manual (pdf) in English. Pretty definitive and probably good for insomnia too.