New Forms in Wood

Tuesday 14 Aug 2012

Finland celebrates wood at the Venice Architecture Biennale

Wood has always been a favoured building material in Finland. Nature and the forest have provided a livelihood and enduring source of inspiration for their art and architecture. Today, wood continues to fascinate Finnish architects, who are unleashing new creative potential through the use of modern technology and new treatment methods. To celebrate the reopening of the newly restored Alvar Aalto Pavilion, this exhibition highlights the work of young Finnish architects who have used wood inventively in their recent works.

ALA ARCHITECTS have created an undulating overhang of massive oak to welcome visitors to Kilden, the Performing Arts Center in Kristiansand, Norway.

AVANTO ARCHITECTS have designed a wooden public sauna with a striking organic form that blends uniquely with the landscape of its coastal park setting.

EERO LUNDÉN and MARKUS WIKAR have applied computer algorithms to create the light-framed wooden construction of their temporary pavilion in Turku.

Exquisitely crafted wood is a key element in K2S ARCHITECTS' Chapel of Silence, a meditative sanctuary in one of the busiest areas in downtown Helsinki.

Kuokkala Church by LASSILA HIRVILAMMI ARCHITECTS is a dialogue between tradition and cutting-edge wood construction technology.

The temporary World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 Pavilion designed by PYRY-PEKKA KANTONEN and the WOOD PROGRAM at Aalto University exemplifies how innovation and research in wood technology is a key part of the education of architects and design-ers in Finland.

The Alvar Aalto Pavilion in Venice was originally intended as a temporary construction. Its designer, Alvar Aalto, is renowned for his skilful treatment of wood in furniture as well as architecture. Commissioned to represent Finland at the Biennale in Venice in 1956, the wooden structure then represented a rather unusual choice of building material by Venetian standards. Although originally intended for temporary usage only, the Aalto Pavilion has become a permanent mixture in La Giardini Biennale Park. Last autumn, however, it was seriously damaged by a fallen tree during a storm. The accident prompted an in-depth exploration of the building's history and construction technique. It also inspired them to celebrate contemporary expressions in Finnish architecture as part of a long tradition of wood building and as part of a shared frame of reference for all Finns.

The exhibition is curated by Juulia Kauste. Exhibition Design: Esa Vesmanen/Pure Design.

The show is organised by the Museum of Finnish Architecture and supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland and the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012. The exhibition is a satellite event organised as part of the World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 programme.

Finland is also the organiser and a co-exhibitor in the Nordic Pavilion's Light Houses: On the Nordic Common Ground exhibition.


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