Film, Television and Scenography

Design Capital Pavilion showcases high quality wooden architecture


A group of students and experts from the Aalto University Wood Studio have designed the Pavilion, a temporary structure to be located on an empty plot of land between the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum. The project is carried out by World Design Capital Helsinki 2012, Aalto University, the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Design Museum and UPM. The Pavilion opens to the public on 12 May 2012.

Designpääkaupunkivuoden Paviljonki – osoitus korkeatasoisesta puuarkkitehtuurista


Photo: Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

– Working on the Design Capital Pavilion has been a unique and special experience for the Wood Studio, says Professor Pekka Heikkinen.

The architectural design of the pavilion is by student Pyry-Pekka Kantonen. Other Wood Studio students belonging to the working group include Markus Heinonen, Marko Hämäläinen, Janne Kivelä, Wilhelm Kosonen and Inka Saini.

– Studying at the Wood Studio is a team work oriented experience, says Kantonen.  It is rewarding to see the entire design and construction of the project from start to finish, from the first sketches to the commissioning of the building, all happening during the study period. Wood is a familiar material to the Finns that connects people, explains Kantonen.

An open space with many uses

The Pavilion is designed to be an open and easy to approach building. It enables the organisation and integration of numerous functions and events.

The construction is formed of a roofed terrace and two triangle-shaped premises. The smaller triangle has a kitchen and an outdoor café counter. The larger triangle hosts a media space, which can be expanded onto the terrace. During the summer, the media space transforms, for example, into a movie theatre. The cafeteria’s kitchen and serving facility, as well as the media space can be closed off and are semi-heated indoor facilities.

– The openness of the triangle-shaped grated roof allows light to playfully sweep over the terrace as the day passes. The roofing consists of triangle-shaped grating with beams and a transparent covering. The beams are made from veneered laminated wood, similar to the pillars, with an 18 mm beach veneer surface and structural timber studs. The covering consists of a transparent polycarbonate cellular board. The total covered area is 470 sq m.

The Pavilion consists of four main elements: The base and terrace, the premises, the pillars and the roofed area. The pillars of the roofed area are set on thick plates placed on the gravel base. Each pillar is a six-pointed veneer plywood box structure. The pillars are fixed together horizontally with rods. The box structure consists of core lattices made of structural timber, and 18mm plywood with birch veneer surfaces.

The building is set on a levelled gravel base. The terrace structures will be made almost entirely of timber and the platform from birch veneer surfaced laminated planks. The premises, which can be closed off, will be built out of prefabricated laminated elements.

The Wood Studio tutors are Professor Pekka Heikkinen, engineer Hannu Hirsi, architect
Risto Huttunen, designer Mikko Paakkanen, architect Karola Sahi and by project coordinator Ransu Helenius.

The terrace benches are designed by architect Philip Tidwell from Aalto University. The furniture is designed and manufactured by Martela and Trash Design. The Pavilion’s events programme is coordinated by Demos Helsinki.

Further information:
Pekka.heikkinen [at] aalto [dot] fi; ransu.helenius [at] aalto [dot] fi; pyry.kantonen [at] aalto [dot] fi

The Pavilion will have a program every day of the 105 days it will be open. The programme can be accessed on the Pavilion web page at The new architectural meeting point is located between Design Museum and Museum of Finnish Architecture, Ullanlinnankatu, Helsinki.

Aalto University’s World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 programme, Living+ available at 


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