Jonathan Speirs was a great lighting designer, definitely the most famous and certainly one of the best. I had the pleasure of working with him and his team on a project in Edinburgh and he impressed with his no fuss professionalism. He died a few weeks ago and will leave a great hole in his profession and beyond. His office has made a visual tribute.
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.
Kirjava Keskiaika is a beautiful finnish website which opens up for anyone the oldest and most precious books existing in Finland, download the text in pdf format. Also the books and other medieval treasures are mapped and a short written history of the object given.
There were 530 entries in the Helsinki Central Library Competition (via). Proposals will be shown in the Autumn and final winning proposal next summer.
The City Board Voted on Wednesday to reject the Guggenheim Helsinki proposal by 8 votes to 7. But there will be new elections and a new board by the autumn. (via)
If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right. Henry Ford
Living in Finland and having previously written about Finnish Wine I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about Finnish Whiskey. You heard it right there may be a nascent Whiskey Industry hiding in the Finnish woods. Check out the Wikipedia page on Finnish Whiskey and you’ll see there are currently two producing Whiskeys. The two distilleries are Panimoravintola Beer Hunter’s and Teerenpeli Distillery.
WikiHouse is an open source construction set. It’s aim is to allow anyone to design, download, and ‘print’ CNC- milled houses and components, which can be assembled with minimal formal skill or training. – WikiHouse
Since I wrote last about the proposition of the Guggenheim Museum coming to Helsinki a lot has happened. I had a good look at the background of the Guggenheim ventures since Bilbao, the type of museum envisaged and didn’t like what I saw. But also I didn’t really think it would happen, at a time of budget cuts and austerity I didn’t think that the city would have the financial muscle to build it. But I was wrong on a few fundamental assumptions.1
For mainly those reasons the Guggenheim coming to Helsinki looks like a distinct possibility. So with the council about to vote on the subject in April it’s worth taking another look at the proposal on the table. Those of you who want a detailed look at the proposal can have a look at the official report here. OK so what will GHelsinki offer us lets check the for column.
- It will be smaller than I thought cutting the cost from prohibitive to reachable. It clearly has the support of some of Finland’s top art players like Carl Gustaf Ehrnrooth who is both Finnish and on the Board of the Guggenheim. Two name just two things I missed first time around. [↩]
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.
Robin Hood Gardens by Peter and Alison Smithson has been approved for Demolition. A real shame, it is one of those seminal but unloved works of that period it is the same age as I am. Perhaps it’s fate though was sealed because the cost of saving them would have been ’prohibitive’ . (via)
Over two years ago I made a quick photo journal of my walk through a closed and disused piece of railway line going through the center of Helsinki which was due to be turned into a new cycle and pedestrian route. Well it will be opened this year (delayed or held back for WDC2012!) during the summer. It will be called Baana.
Along its borders there are great oportunities for additional insertions, bars and cafes, small shops, markets etc, if someone gives it a sympathetic eye in the city planning department.
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.
SOPA & PIPA are the sort of Bullshit censorship models we can do without on the internet. That’s why I went dark on the 18th January and thankfully they were defeated this time. Have a read of some background to the well thought out arguments as why we need to oppose these types of measures now and most likely in the future too is easy to find.
So my first ebook reader a basic Kindle 4 came in the post just as the first Kindle fire was being launched in the States. I had been thinking of getting one for a while but with the recent revised lineup bringing a nice design simplification and price drop of the basic model I decided to take the plunge now. After a few weeks a weekend away and a Christmas break with it I think I have a good basic impression of the Kindle and the act of reading on one.