Museum of Finnish Architecture
Press release June 6, 2018
Press kit:
Urban Façades exhibition will open to the public in June 13
In the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Urban Façades, an exhibition consisting of works by students, will open on for public in June 13. The students at the Department of Architecture of Aalto University have produced façade studies for the address Punanotkonkatu 2. It’s about the old Valmet headquarters (1965) and office building of the former police station, which is presently being torn down in order to provide space for a new residential building.
The exhibition Urban Façades doesn’t take a stand on the architecture of the new building, but its purpose is to arouse a general discussion about the urban image and the significance of the art of building in today’s rapidly changing Helsinki.
“We gave the students a general description of a hypothetical program: a residential building which has commercial space on the street level. The volume was up to the students to define. No floor plans were drawn, something you wouldn’t be able to tell from the submitted works”, professor Jenni Reuter at Aalto University comments.
The site for the design assignment is located next to the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki, at the intersection of Kasarmikatu and Punanotkonkatu. In the small exhibition hall of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, where the works are shown, there is a window overlooking the construction site in Punanotkonkatu. In June, the old building has already given way to the new one, and the foundation for a new block of flats is being dug.
“We were invited to teach a master’s level studio course at the Department of Architecture at Aalto University. We wanted a subject that would be simultaneously pressing and elementary, so we decided to focus on the external appearance of buildings: the façade”, the architects Simon Mahringer and Esa Ruskeepää comment.
“In contemporary discourse, façades are too often seen as mere envelopes for volume, without much original design intent or development. Nevertheless, they seem to pass the building process without much objection. We argue that the outmost layer of buildings – materials, finishes, colours, joints, forms, proportions and depths – defines the quality of urban space more than anything else. Streets and neighbourhoods are, in the end, characterized by an ensemble of individual façades,” the architects consider, and continue: “Together with our students, we wanted to investigate, during one semester, this crucial but often neglected intersection between urban planning and building design.”
The exhibition consists of works by students. “We started the studio by assigning each student one existing building in Helsinki. The buildings represented different time periods and different programs. Each student produced a detailed elevation drawing of the main façade at a scale of 1:50, and described the façade objectively in written form”, Ruskeepää and Mahringer inform us.
At the opening day on Tuesday June 12, an opening debate is organized at 5 pm., whose panelists are the teachers of the course, the architects Esa Ruskeepää and Simon Mahringer. The architect students of Aalto University are also present, presenting their work to the audience.
The students at the Department of Architecture of Aalto University whose works will be shown are Molly Ekholm, Eilo Hatakka, Jaana Miettinen, Oskari Parkkinen, Kristian Penttinen, Egle Rinkselyte, Benjamin Schulman, Saara Sillanmikko, Stella Vahteristo, Annamari Vesamo, Wu Yao-Ting, Anja-Kaisa Ylimommo and Olga Zharkova.
For further information:
Sissi Ehrström
Communication Designer
Museum of Finnish Architecture
+358 45 7731 0468