Aron De Cesero (IT), architect
Annachiara Sartor (IT), landscape architect
Marta Magnaguagno (IT),, architectural & urban theorist
Island Tools is a very carefully and thoroughly prepared coherent proposal. Its overall concept starts from the broader idea of mobility in Helsinki and the accessibility of the islands concerned. The concept remains, however, a bit disconnected from the competition brief, although it is relevant.
The proposal also sets out an ambitious goal of how humans will stop overcrowding and make room for other species. The idea is fine and worthy of support, but in the before and after studies of the placement of each user group on the islands presented – which are meritorious in themselves – The interpretation of the calculation is misleading, as seen by the claim that the combined proportion of species on each island is 150%. However, this is not the case. The method of calculation would need further detailed explanation so as to avoid misunderstanding.
However, the merit of the work also lies in its understanding of the value of nature, and it ambitiously tackles the identification of the needs of different customers and, as a special mention, the objective of accessible solutions.
The natural values of each island are carefully studied in the proposal, and the activities presented are well positioned. However, the location of activities close to the natural assets could be better suited to another location.
The proposal responds to the distinctive spirit and nature of the archipelago with local materials and respect for the surroundings. The concept of human nests is a fine analogy. The materials used for the structures are well justified and the use of materials is imaginative and pleasing, and the analysis has been carefully made. The idea of decomposable structures made of natural materials to enhance diversity and provide shelter for the regeneration of areas is an interesting solution.
The presented structures are simple, beautiful, and carefully studied. The landing sites and their different interpretations are well justified and form a unique system. The services provided create an attractive environment for recreation. Their modularity requires further study, but as a whole the concept is strong and implies that building these structures is relatively easy. If the amount of structure were scaled down a bit, the valuable characteristics of the archipelago could be well preserved and even strengthened. Construction of the relatively simple structures can be cost-effective, and maintenance is not believed to entail heavy logistics as the materials are common and already part of the local heritage.
The proposal creates a sustainable frame for co-existence between species during all seasons, which is a highly sustainable approach in the Helsinki context.
The use of island tools implies the abandonment of absolute anthropocentrism, of the greed for space, as a coexistence between different living beings is proposed as an act of belonging to the world and as an antidote to detachment. The small island architectures, fragmented but united by a common meaning, as happens in an archipelago, become environments inhabited by different forms of life. These systems are built in the wild from natural and local materials in respect of what surrounds them, prepared to be parasitized and varied in and by time. These are places of temporary acceptance of the human being, of approach to the natural and absence of the mania of ‘forever’, of mutual and equal encounter. The human being nests in the islands, allowing the architectures to be nested in turn.