Finland

Sauna as Acupuncture by Michelle Linden






Marco Casagrande is a Finnish architecture working in Taiwan... He's fairly well-known for The Chen House, but as this project proves, he is thoughtful and considerate in all of his work.
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This insertion of a Finnish sauna into an eastern urban fabric hopes to provide a point in which we can experience both the modern and the ancient. Rather than paraphrase all the ways in which this project aims to affect the city's chi, I would highly recommend visiting Marco's site dedicated to this project. It is well worth the read...
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How Embarrassing by Michelle Linden

So, the World Expo 2010 is taking place in Shanghai, and many of the world's best architects have contributed designs. Many countries have hired the best architects found in their own country, while others have ventured out beyond their borders... but most designs have something in common... trying to articulate the priorities and passions of their home country, exuding confidence and creativity. Of course, I say most because the US is one glaring exception. What does our pavilion say about us? We could be locate along any highway in any suburb. We value conformity and corporate culture (which we can directly link to many of the problems plaguing our nation). We don't really have any place for innovation or creativity and we certainly don't value our architects, which is why we hired a Canadian to design a metal panelled representation of an eagle (there is that lack of creativity and ingenuity again).
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Very Frustrating. An expo is not an office park.

US
UK
Spain
South Korea
Portugal
Denmark
Switzerland
Russia
Japan
Poland
Finland
Canada





Le culte de la nature by Michelle Linden






I really like this project by Arkkitehtitoimisto Tuomo Siitonen. The combination of rustic and refined materials offers a soothing composition. This live/work studio for ceramicist Karin Widnas is located in an artists' village south west of Helsinki. The large expanses of glass take full advantage of the limited light during the winter, and open up the studio to the out of doors during the summer.
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More info (in French) at marie claire maison
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3X JKMM by Michelle Linden

The winning design for a 2002 competition, this design for the ARMI Center is currently on hold. Hopefully the Finnish Architectural Museum and Design Museum will get their funding together in order to move this project forward. The form is simple, but there are some playful parts of the project, including a roof form that lifts slightly upward, giving us a little wink.
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I really love the palette of colors and materials in this Helsinki day care center... Again, the forms are simple, but playful. JKMM Architects took full advantage of all light available, which is obviously important in a place like Helsinki. The bright interiors and warm materials make this a place I'd like to spend time in, as a child or as an adult.

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Lastly, this recent project, the Turku Central Library seems to take the great attributes of the earlier projects (simplicity, a combination of cool colors and warm materials, and a playful quality) and really refines their design aesthetic. I'm really digging all of these projects and will definitely be keeping my eye out for more work by JKMM.

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