A port area occupying the Hernesaari Peninsula is the first thing many tourists see when they arrive in Helsinki. Until a few years ago, the peninsula territory was nothing more than a district of docks, warehouses, and hangars. During the 2000s the city administration devised a plan to transform the seaside area. The plan involved creating new residential development and a park with a well-designed social infrastructure to replace old industrial buildings. The first wave of renovation arrived in 2015: as part of Avanto Architects’ project, numerous bars and restaurants with wooden verandas, a stage, and a beach opened in the area. According to their plans, a public sauna was to become the centerpiece of the new public space. More than just a tourist attraction, the sauna would be a place bringing the local community together.
The original draft of the project envisioned a ‘sauna village’ drifting in the open sea. The idea was scrapped: the proposed design would never survive the floating ice of harsh northern seas. Instead, the Löyly sauna was built on the waterfront. Avanto Architects chose to keep the building short so as not to block the park view opening from the future residential block. The narrow design allowed for aligning the building along the main waterfront route. During the lecture, Avanto Architects’ Ville Hara will share his experience of transforming industrial areas and shed light on the specifics of working with seaside areas, from researching the shoreline to building a public space for a local community.
Avanto Architects pursues the goal of refining the interaction between architecture and landscape. Spacious but modest, the sauna is a natural extension of the surrounding landscape rather than an independent building. The gray-colored wood of its exterior helps create an image of a rock overlooking the sea.
The lecture is supported by the Finnish Institute and the Consulate General of Finland.
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Strelka Week is organized with the support of Gazporm Neft as a part of the Native Towns social investment program.