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The story of the Lahti church (Evangelical Lutheran) begins at 1950, when the city of Lahti announced an architectural competition what was won by Alar Aalto. The original site however was not empty-on the hill there stood the city’s wooden church, what was from 19th century and designed by Jacob Ahrenberg,  apparently the wooden church was too small for the community. The church is on the visual axis with Lahti town hall designed by  Eliel Saarinen. The  drawings for the construction of the project were drawn in 1969.

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The construction was finished in 1978, almost 30 years later than original design was made. If one looks at the design as from late 50’s, early 60’s the impression is one, but if you look at it at something from late 70’s there is a completely different attitude. The spacial solution of the roof structure nevertheless is still very impressive. All the details  like interior and exterior lamps, handles and seating are designed by Aalto, except of the ones in the basement.  The final design undergone many alterations from the original project: the number of seating decreased; a basement was added; additional balconies were added as well.

The space was very pleasant, the colours almost grey-scale, the day when the photos were taken was rainy and gloomy (I guess typical Finish weather), but inside only due to natural light it was still bright, the atmosphere was uplifting and it was easy to concentrate. Those are the features that, I assume, were originally sought after by Alvar Aalto himself.

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The legend tells – that this was the last project of Alvar Aalto. And when the star-architect died, the drawings of Lahti church were on his drawing table.

Interesting notice: there was actually no real cross on of the tower in the original designs. After long discussions and negotiations now the tower has a small cross on it after-all (not visible in my photos).

Last week I has a pleasure to visit a heart of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012. This pavilion located in-between Architecture and Design museums provides unique space for design events during all the summer of 2012. During my visit there was some event happening, however all was purely in Finish (and presentation wasn’t visual either), so I present the impressions of the building itself.

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The Pavilion was designed at Aalto University’s Wood Program and it is is a showcase of Finnish sustainable wood architecture.The designer is Pyry-Pekka Kantonen who’s competition entry was selected in the spring of 2011.

Specifically I liked: the furniture; building’s designer’s trust in the society (no walls, all exterior covers are framed curtains only); neat ramps for handicapped or people with prams; stylish cafee; different zoning in seemingly open space, and an urban garden.

The Pavilion will be open throughout the summer, plenty of events. It is open even if there are no presentations happening, so surely it is a must see place for curious visitors of the Design Capital 2012 :)

Photos from a visit to Lahti, Finland. Pro Puu (eng. Pro Wood) design shop and gallery.

Pro Puu is housed in a former matchfactory Tikkula in the old Lake Vesijärvi harbour. The premises include a gallerya shopoffice and design spaces as well as an independently operating wood workshop.

Here are works by design students displayed in a gallery space:

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Shop and some of the items sold. Locally designed and made

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These photos were taken at the exhibition and shop “To Declare” in the Old Customs Warehouse. The building itself is worth mentioning as it has just been brought back to life for cultural events and exhibitions. Helsinki Design Week was one of the first use after 40 or more years. It is an excellent example of reuse and change of function, however some things like sanitary will have to be installed inside some day.

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After enjoying the exhibition, especially the useful objects, I had a pleasure to listen to a presentation of a book in Finish and I decided not to take a copy – too much of corporate flavour or just too few pictures in it.

Later, rather unexpectedly, architect Carolina Bueno, partner at Triptyque Architecture gave a lecture and presented her works. She was full of energy and inspirational.

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