Space is event

It’s holiday season, Midsummer came and went, after all!

So chances are Helsinki residents are not in Helsinki at this lovely time of year.

Some of them may even be in London. Might they be savouring a piece of Finland outside Finland? If they wanted to, they’d find it in Rotherhithe, where the Finnish Seamen’s Mission has been saving souls, serving coffee and doing the decent thing, since 1958. These days it’s simply called the Finnish Church. Its detailing and its furniture does, indeed, do a lot to make you feel you’ve been transported to the north-eastern shores where Helsinki lies – and beyond.

It was designed by Cyrill Mardall-Sjöström, in case you’re interested.

Alternatively, our summer holidaying Helsinkian might check out the urban vibe of a big metropolis. They could swing by an urban orchard. It’s a piece of derelict urban land (in which London has so excelled in recent decades) that’s  being resurrected for “community use” by the joint efforts of all kinds of agencies, from so-called Business Improvement Districts to local charities and the occasional inspired individual person and the “urban event” that is the London Festival of Architecture. Some day we’ll blog in earnest about what all this might mean politically but it’s late. Gotta move on.

The Finnish Institute (in London), in any case, has a hand in this orchard. Oddly though, it feels like they are sponsoring the orchard (a place) as an event (a time). But hey, that just underlines that space and time are two dimensions of the same experience. As any holiday-going tourist should know!

The part of the event/space that’s called the Nest is produced by Helsinki’s Wood Program, so it’s allowed on this blog. This is a study course at the newly named Aalto University’s architecture department. Towards the end of the “event” it might have plants entwined around it. As for the unit of the university, they use American spelling, more eco-friendly rhetoric than most people can stand and an over-abundance of upbeatness, but also, we hope you’ll agree, an inspiring and fun addition to what used to be a car park!

In any case, nice to see wood coming into its own in architecture. It used to be confined to saunas, like this one, at Alvar Aalto’s summer retreat, near Jyväskylä.


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