Eelis Leino (FI), architect
Filip Neagu (FI), architect
The proposal Aallonharja proposes a new layer of archipelago, a reinterpretation of Finnish island structures. The proposal neatly captures the purpose of the competition, that is, to create something new and recognisable for the nature tourism islands of the City of Helsinki, and it is easy to imagine how one would look out over the landscape while boating and see the hallmarks of islands open to all.
A very strong identity is created with an iconic, almost monumental, and very recognizable structure that is modified and duplicated to fit different locations and purposes.
The chosen locations for recreation and construction are attractive and create unique places for outdoor activities.
The proposed new structures are based largely on the existing network of paths, which is a successful choice and in itself reduces encroachment on the natural landscape.
In addition, the number and quality of the proposed activities are suitable for nature tourism and appropriate to the scale of the place. The proposal leaves the scenic islands as an asset and does not propose large-scale activities that would compromise the islands’ insularity through a proliferation of activities.
The principle of doing little but gaining a lot is used to its maximum. These simple structures are scalable and repeatable and with their strong red colour they add something new and inspiring to the spirit and maritime recreation of the Helsinki archipelago.
The concept of toilets as the main signpost to the islands is important for recreational use. Anyone who has boated in the archipelago and spends a lot of time in nature knows the first and most urgent need when you come ashore is to find a toilet. That is why Aallonharja brings a smile to one’s face, because it is always refreshing when basic needs are transformed by design into a resource and an idea. Perhaps even a deliberately floating toilet has also solved the odour problem of sanitary facilities in the heatwave, increasingly frequent due to climate change.
The proposal’s architectural approach does not address the wider issue of mobility on the islands and, above all, accessibility issues. In this case, while otherwise succeeding excellently in meeting the competition objectives, mobility issues could be considered worth addressing in the further design phase.
From a structural point of view, the proposal has flaws but not to such an extent that they could not be improved in a cost-effective way. The lifecycle of the presented structures is feasible if the materials are chosen carefully. The steel roof of the buildings is a bold choice but lacks justification: could it be the acoustics and the sound of raindrops?
Overall, the proposal is carefully drafted and can be further developed.
Aallonharja unveils the newest layer for a long-lasting Nordic maritime architecture. It portrays a modern reinterpretation of the traditional Finnish shoreline structures. Iconic and functional, its form combined with an intense red colour and the modern use of wood creates an easily recognisable public building typology that fits to every island. Aallonharja blends itself to the archipelago environment and gives air for the unique nature to thrive, all while creating various new possibilities for everyone to enjoy the islands. The project is designed to be ecologically and economically sustainable.