The site is located in the Eteläsatama, or South Harbor area, an urban space of great national and cultural significance, close to the historic city center and immediately visible to visitors arriving by sea. The focus was to find connections, without forgetting the most important connection of all: that of the building itself to its site.
Regardless of its self-contained character, the presence of a new piece of architecture will inevitably create a new landscape, so we focused on the necessity of discovering the architecture which the site itself is seeking while becoming a symbol for the city.
We imagined a structure that casts shadows but which exerts little physical presence within the frame of the city. Another key aspect was to obtain a space for education that encourages the learning process for all audiences. The whole building is multifunctional in order to sustain a variety of uses in which everyone can participate.
The project is taking on the complex challenge of avoiding pedestrian barriers. The canopy provides a dramatic effect while protecting the sloped public square. This provides a powerful public area that resembles an open-air amphitheatre. The visitors have a choice between exploring the inside or the outside of the building.
On the exterior, a pedestrian “belt” surrounds the main unit, inviting guests on an ascending walk on the facade. The public space is extended on an accessible rooftop that includes restaurants and a public garden where the visitors can continue walking while enjoying a panoramic view of the surroundings.
The complex is similar to an urban scheme: a collection of buildings designed to function just like a city would, following the division between the public, exterior space and the semi-public interior one, by using variations in scale, texture, color and material.
The scheme is based upon a series of units, in which the in-between areas generate the shape of the building and form a network of “streets”.Source by Razvan Barsan + Partners.
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Architects: Razvan Barsan + Partners
Project Team: Razvan Barsan, Dana Tudor
Images: Courtesy of Razvan Barsan + Partners