Welcome to Helsinki! Sunrise in the bay as we enter Finland on the overnight ferry Silja. Our first experience of the bitter cold as snow blew hard over the bow of the ship in -16 deg C weather, nevermind the wind chill. You're looking at the fort Suomenlinna (Viapori), built by the Swedish in 1748 to protect against the Russians. The most expensive project built by Sweden, requiring "many bags of gold" according to our history instructor. Augustin Ehrensvärd used the natural topography is his design for the fort and many of the buildings are tucked in to the landscape. Shortly after it was completed, the fort was taken by the Russian's who took advantage of the frozen Baltic Sea to march across to the islands -- something the Swedes never anticipated.
We are two MArch students from Washington University St Louis who are traveling for a semester abroad to Helsinki, the arctic circle, and Baltic region. Helsinki is currently the 2012 design capital and we are getting to participate in extensive design related seminars and events that we wish to blog about. We are interested in using this blog to share/explore ideas and experiences about design, art, architecture and culture as we experience it.