Monthly Archives: February 2015

Helsinki Files 05: Design in the Details

The Talking Heads have always struck me as a very “Art/Design” group. Please enjoy this musical selection (with the strange image of a child associated with it…)

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_08

When in Helsinki, we visited both the architecture museum and the design museum. That is the end of the story. Look at all the detail photos I took:

Helsinki Architecture Museum Model Detail

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_07

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_10

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_09

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_02

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_03

This next image is my favorite of the group:

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_06

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_11

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_12

This is my second favorite image:

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_04

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_13

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_14

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_15

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_16

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_17

Helsinki Design Museum Detail_01

The architecture museum is small, but had a great temporary exhibit. The design museum had an excellent permanent exhibit about Finnish design, and a rather good temporary art exhibit.

That is it.

Sorry for the lazy post, back to school.

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Helsinki Files 04: Show your [Modernist] School Spirit!

Accounting for the length of this post and my interests in multiple styles of music, below are two options of soundtracks for your enjoyment. Choose wisely, but feel free to scroll back up and play the other if you’d like more time to browse this post:

Option 1: This is another cover (I’m having trouble finding original songs to post) by a fellow from Germany (That is close enough to Finland, right?):

Option 2: You should have seen this coming…

aalto-university_cover_lecture-hall-exterior

Because of the significant amount of work Alvar Aalto had done for this University (formerly 3 different universities, if I understand the history correctly…), this school was named Aalto University and is home to some of the Finnish Architect’s masterpieces. The most prominent of which (in my mind) is the lecture hall pictured above (and below).

Aalto University_Lecture Hall Exterior Detail

As with most of Aalto’s work, the exterior of the building is a rather simple form.

Aalto University_Lecture Hall Exterior 2

The interior is (as is typical per Aalto) clean and beautifully detailed.

Aalto University_Lecture Hall Stairs

Aalto University_Lecture Hall Lobby

Aalto University_Lecture Hall_Outside Doors

The somewhat understated appearance of the exterior and interior spaces make the inside of the lecture hall that much more miraculous.

Aalto University_Lecture Hall Interior

In case you are wondering, yes. That is a class taking a test. We quietly snuck in and distracted a hundred or so students with camera clicking and architectural “ooh-ing” and “awe-ing”.

Aalto University_Lecture Hall Electric Lighting Detail

The cove lighting in the space was fantastic too!

After seeing a good sampling of Aalto’s work, it is in my opinion that the best work he does is library work.

Aalto University_Library Exterior

I think I particularly like it because the color of the books compliments his plain white and raw material aesthetics tremendously. Also his knack for daylighting strategies compliments the program of the typical library exceedingly well.

Aalto University_Library Front Desk

Aalto University_Library Daylighting 1

Aalto University_Library Daylighting 2

Aalto University_Library Daylighting 3

Aalto also seems to have the rare ability to define rooms within a space without the use of walls (I think this may be the sign of an architectural master, like Frank Lloyd Wright and the rest of the “Typical Architecture Hero” crew).

Aalto University_Library Daylighting 4

There are also other significant works of architecture on the campus done by architects other than Aalto. The Otaniemi Chapel by Heikki and Kaija Siren is another example of a beautiful, Finnish chapel.

Aalto University_Chapel Exterior

The cross is located just outside the chapel and is framed by a wall of glazing that also captures the nature surrounding the building.

Aalto University_Chapel Interior

The star of the show is the roof structure along which daylight spills into the space.

Aalto University_Chapel Roof Structure Detail

I don’t recall what this building is or if it is even architecturally significant. Its just a cool picture I guess.

Aalto University_Interesting Building

The student union building for the university is also noteworthy. Though I am still uncertain as to whether or not I like the building, I am certain that it is unique.

Aalto University_Student Union Exterior

The interior also has… things happening…

Aalto University_Student Union Interior

However, in my mind, the exterior is easier to photograph (a good measure of the quality of architecture? Probably not…).

Aalto University_Student Union Exterior 2

There is so much more that is happening on this campus that went un-documented, but I think this post probably hit all the high points!

We’ve got spirit, yes we do!

We’ve got spirit, how bout you?!

A

A

L-T-O

Goooooo Aalto!!!

(Traditional Finnish school spirit chant)

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Helsinki Files 03: Wooden Heart

For your enjoyment, press play on the soundcloud widget below. (It is a cover of an Elvis song. Not the same one this post is named after…)

Wood chapel Cover

Right in the middle of the bustling metropolis that is Helsinki (if you’ve been, you know that is sort of a joke…) is the Chapel of Silence or Kamppi Chapel. This tiny little gem is so small that it is difficult to photograph, but I’ll share what I have.

Chapel Of Silence_Exterior 1

Though I am not quite sure how it was constructed (and do not have time to research it), I would venture a guess that the wood volume is covered in lapped strips of wood (as a ship might be).

Chapel Of Silence_Exterior Detail

The interior is a fantastic egg-shaped space that earns its name by being so insulated from the city that you could hear a pin drop (or a Finnish proverb of similar meaning). I crouched and squirmed to get the right angle of the interior, but this is all I could manage:

Chapel Of Silence_Interior

Not great, right? 

Well forget about that. It is one of those, “You gotta be there,” spaces. Instead, check out these detail shots.

Chapel Of Silence_Daylighting Detail

Beautiful day-lighting and carefully crafted electric lighting illuminate the space. Light washes down the smooth wood walls that are the material equivalent (in my mind) of an unfinished butcher block. Said butcher block is cleverly revealed in the doorway:

Chapel Of Silence_Interior Detail 1

Short post this time. A longer one is on the way (whether you like it or not!).

No crying took place during the visit to this chapel…

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