14.10.2009

WISA Wooden Design Hotel in Helsinki, Finland

La idea surgió de un objeto geométrico a partir de una forma orgánica cuando estaba comiendo caramelos "toffee": roturas en la superficie rectangular petrificada que revelan su interior suave y flexible. El lenguaje contrastante de los materiales representa la capacidad para preservar su estructura natural cualquier se la forma con la que hayan sido manufacturados.


I got the idea of a brisk geometrical object consisting an organic form when I was eating toffee caramels. Rectangular petrified surface breaks while biting and reveals its soft, supple interior. The contrastive idiom represents materials ability to preserve the natural structure of itself under any manufactured form.

Leading the base idea from toffee to wood felt natural in the frame of wooden architecture competition organized by UPM. The site specified for the construction, was located in the northern edge of Valkosaari, Helsinki. A sea washed islet brought a picture in my mind of a driftwood hurled onto crag by storm. The grey patinated block of wood has splintered from the middle unveiling the organic light core of the wood. Following the concept the construction was a rectangle with all the sides as long as the others. The strips of the middle part bend due the height differences and angle of the unbroken ends. In theory the construction could be restored back to rectangle by straightening the ends as parallel and on the same level.

The maritime location and my long time admiration towards wooden boats inspired me to try boat building technique in bending the middle part planks. In order to talk about innovation and experimental possibilities in using the wood in constructing, I would like to start from honouring the basic essence of wood. The material itself does not need re-inventing, every product can be found on shelves in hardware stores. As interior materials I chose the birch plywood, the structures are from spruce and the surface casings are knotless pinewood. Exteriors are handled with water based wood treatment and the gray shade came from mixing pre existing colors and inner surfaces are waxed with natural oil. Bended parts are made by laminating three 8mm pinewood plank layers on top of each other. Inner and outer layers are intact, mezzanine layer both guide and bind the bending. The supporting and the stiffening was also ment to be hidden in the mezzanine layer, but the strict time schedule and the springtime storms at the construction site forced us to resort in other type of structure. It had to be taken into consideration in the design that construction had to be dismantled and reconstructed because the site in the Valkosaari was temporary.

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The project was supposed to be completed in one and a half month. We had to acquiesce a bit from the aimed schedule, but the time was still filled with challenges. In addition to the actual designing and structural executing, the location of the site in the islet at the mercy of weather required particularly precise organizing from the lead, logistics and time scheduling. The hardest part of the constructing, the bending of the roof planks and lifting them into the required hight, occurred under peculiarly stormy days. The work executed from scaffolds set up on the craggy rocks required special skills of a windsurfer from the fine carpenters.

The completed construction communicates with its environment meeting the expectations set to it; partly blending in, partly seceding. By chancing the scale in your mind, you can see driftwood washed onto the shore.

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