Earlier this year, when I was doing a small trip around Scandinavia, my last stop was Helsinki. Without any travel maps or pre-set idea to venture places and with spontaneous mind-set, I took a train directly to Helsinki central. As I was finding my way to the entrance of the Kampi shopping center, I stumbled upon of what I would refer to as “the spectacular yet simple architectural masterpiece” within the most unexpected busiest part of Helsinki. A ‘Chapel” whose sole purpose is to relax and calm yourself and have the perfect moment of silence!
Situated on the Narinkka Square in central Helsinki, the oval shape building has a unique yet challenging design with respect to the entire planned urban space all around. Surrounded by upscale shopping centers, restaurants/ cafes, hotels and office buildings with known architectural design configuration, this building stands out as an exemplary mark on central urban fabric of the city!
The curved wooden facades with its oval shapes encompasses and flows as if it on one side it emerges out to be in cylindrical form while on the other perspective its seems to expands horizontally.
Every wooden curve is beautifully crafted in a way that it gives the concept of how a building flows into the city. Not only the design itself, but to convince to build such a religious building in downtown Helsinki is something to be admired and all the credit goes to their architects “K2S Architects Ltd.”
The concept behind the shape was basically crafted by considering the existing point of urban condition prevalent in the Helsinki downtown and with swirling circulation of people and surrounding spaces as well the neighboring city views, the shape of the building perfectly blends itself within the vicinity of the premises.
The chapel internal design is however completely different from the outside world occurring around this building. Not only you feel disconnected with its amazing acoustic configuration in the utmost silence but the concept of visual silence and appeal also plays a very important role in its design. The idea to escape from the super-hectic life of the city and to sit and relax for couple of minutes or more inside a very peaceful space is like a perfect meditation in-itself and I was lucky to have this beautiful unexpected experience.
The roof of the chapel is in form of convex shape with peripheral window which goes around the chapel walls. The reflection of lights in my observation must varies along different times. However, interesting thing to actually notice is that there isn’t any direct light provided inside the building. All which you see is in the reflection of internal facades and ceiling.
One of the interesting features I have read about this design of this building was that its final finishing actually uses “Nano technology” where the varnish particles penetrates the wooden cells structure much deeper. The wood texture however is selected locally where the external facade is made up of Finnish spruce wood and the inner wood used is of British trees wood knows as “Alder” which is very lighter in tone compared to the outside facade and looks really appealing to eyes in that perfect peaceful environment.
I believe the main idea of architecture is all about innovation, to try something new which is unique but also blends out with its surrounding built-environment. I have seen many amazing architecture designs in my past years of traveling around the world but to feel connected with something which touches your heart is I believe one on the finest examples of architecture visualization which has come to existence!
Have you ever had any similar experience where you were emotionally connected and mesmerized by the architectural beauty of the building? Feel free to share anything about it! 🙂