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.
Nine up and coming Finnish Architecture practises have a book publication out called Newly Drawn – Emerging Finnish Architects (website).
The firms involved are; Hollmén Reuter Sandman, Verstas, NOW, Anttinen Oiva Architects, Lassila Hirvilammi, Avanto, ALA, AFKS and K2S. The link to buy the book is here.
According to HS the proposed waterfront hotel by Herzog and DeMeuron has been approved and it’s almost all over for the objectors. The mayor stated that it was nice to get a major building financed by private money, and I guess they thought that the project would inject some life into the whole harbour regeneration which is needed. I’m sure this will remain the most controversial building project in Finland for many years whatever happens next. (HS article) (previously)
Herzog and DeMeurons’ proposed Waterfront Hotel on Katajanokka will be opposed it seems tooth and nail by the Finnish Architectural Establishment. Last Thursday a Revised Scheme was handed in to the City Plannning Authority , while a couple of hours earlier a petition from 34 Architetcure and Planning Professors lead by Juha LeiviskÃ¤ oppposing the scheme was handed in.
I’m not really surprised by this opposition, since I first posted about this project it seems to be that the tide of professional opinion in Finland has turned almost totally against it, and while I think the cladding design is innovative and potentially world class the planning of the building into the public waterfront space appears missing among other concerns, in what is the most controversial building plot in the whole of Finland.
ALA architects have produced a new masterplan for the South Harbour. This area really should be the centrepiece of Helsinki for the visitor as well as contributing to the urban centre for the average resident. The connection to the sea established by the original plan and somewhat undermined since will be improved greatly by the ALA masterplan by bringing the park down to the sea and making a new bridge connection with new facilities on either side of the harbour, its all pretty sensible and should add up to a smooth but large transformation of the area. Also included is a plan for a luxury hotel by Herzog and DeMeuron which will probably draw more headlines and which looks like a bit of shiny transplanted nationalism (on plan it looks like the a swiss cross), its hard to tell if it will be any good but I generally really like H&DM projects so hopefully will get built also. Its the shiny building in the image above.
As an aside the plans for Helsinki over the next few years when looked at together are quite staggering, I’ll need to make a post here soon about this slow drip of new projects and what we can expect greater Helsinki to be like in ten years time. There are no real Supermodernist signature buildings by the Starchitects but much smaller scale building which will add up to quite big changes for Helsinki.
(All images are copright ALA Architects)
(image from Arkkitehtitoimisto ALA Oy)
ALA just won the design competition for the new urban plan of Hanasaari. As can be seen from the graphic the new housing blocks are going to make a real statement from the sea, with large balconies and an extended wave like form or possibly boat hulls. This development will start once the Hanasaari powerplant is demolished starting in 2008.
(location in google maps)