Before the old railway line the Baana was reopened as a pedestrian and cycle route through the center of Helsinki I visited it when it was closed off to the public and the homeless were using it as shelter. It looked to me then like an amazing urban corridor full of possibilities. Since then it has become part of the fabric of the city offering a different perspective on city life for those using it and providing a welcoming connecting urban throughfare for thousands of pedestrians and cyclists every day.
I thought as I put up some photos on flickr before it was remade that I would put up some new one showing it after its makeover. There is now a team, proposal and website covering the Baana trying to develop it called urBaana, others it seems see that the Baana can be even something more than it currently is. I’ll have a look at it and cover it shortly.
6 Entries have now been chosen for Stage 2 of the Helsinki City Library competition.
I found a nice list of record shops in Helsinki and a map to go with it.
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Helsinki’s South Harbour competition has posted the entrants on the web, the results come later. There is alot to chew over here not least that this is the area where the proposed Guggenheim has been proposed to be located, and probably the most controversial development area in Finland right now. You can vote and leave your comments on the site also.
A Helsinki based project called Tinkercad allows you to make 3d drawings which you can then 3d print directly online, all from your web browser. The concept is lovely, simple and integrated. (via)
e3 in Berlin a 7-storey Timber Frame building.
Congratulations go to Sitra and HDL there for helping to reshape the fire regulations in Finland. Previously although Finnforest has a 5-storey office and there are some 3 to 4 storey buildings with wooden frames in Finland you couldn’t really go higher. But now the revision of the regulations has prompted SRV and Stora Enso to collaborate on building multi-storey buildings in Jätkäsaari with wooden structural frames.
This is a beautiful example of path dependence in Architecture. A good or bad decision which may at first have a small or marginal effect will, as other events knock on from this in turn amplify the effect until a large difference has been made. The revision of a few lines of text in a building code has in turn caused a timber building trial, which hopefully will in turn amplify out to wider building practice. It goes to show that the effort of creating great cities and places to live is not just about good urban planing, but good strategic design.
Hopefully we will soon see buildings to rival the seven-storey e3 building in Berlin going up all over Finland.
It’s been long expected, but finally announced, there will be an international competition to design Helsinki Library beginning of 2012. The site is in Töölönlahti, in the area between the Makasiinipuisto park and the Töölönlahdenkatu street.
update: there is now a website to keep everyone updated about the project. Not to mention Facebook page and twitter feed.
If a decision was made to build an undersea rail tunnel between the two cities, the price tag of that might be in the region of two to three billion euros (via)
Someone is still dreaming about this it seems.
This housing development in Töölö is distinguished by a few things. Its a bold riff on the traditional Helsinki prewar housing block without resorting to po-mo ‘irony’. A recent Article in the current edition of Ark reminded me of the project and that I had taken some photos of it a few years back.
Architects Tuomo Siitonen Architects