Rolando Lopez Lopez

Rolando Lopez Lopez

Saint Louis, MO, US


Gentle Sauna - A Hearth for Kamppi Square

Can Architecture bring warmth into a cold place?

Narinkkatori is a highly trafficked square in downtown Helsinki. The square is multi-faceted and serves a variety of roles in numerous capacities. Narinkkatori flanks the main bus station (Kamppi) and serves as a hinge between shopping, living, and recreational Helsinki. In essence Narinkkatori is the eclectic center of Helsinki. However, due to the scale and materiality of the buildings around it, the square can feel cold and detached. Glass and metal are not the most welcoming materials, a problem compounded by the fact that Helsinki is a cold and frigid place in and of itself.

The goal for the pavilion is to create a space for warmth. The pavilion provides literal warmth for travelers; both through its architecture and actual physical heat. A bed of conditioned rocks are arrayed underneath the pavilion and project heat upwards into the interior pavilion space. As the heat rises up, it helps warm travelers. As an additional conveyance of “warmth, ” the pavilion relates to the human scale, and is meant to be warm in terms of its materiality; bent wood cladding at two different scales are fastened to a primary structural wooden frame, creating a textured facade.

The form of the pavilion is derived from the three primary circulation arteries, ensuring that pedestrians can follow their pre-existing routes of travel unhindered while experiencing “the hearth.” Arched entryways become bent walls, enveloping and welcoming visitors – inviting an everyday passersby to enter and help conserve heat in the space. A set of heated landscape pads flank the corners of the pavilion, allowing for occupants to rest in an external space and observe the busy plaza. The pavilion warps between the entrances in order to become a staircase which allows visitors to cross above the pavilion.

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Status: School Project
Location: Helsinki, FI
Additional Credits: In collaboration with Jonathan Bryer (2 week project)