A•lava by Aalto University Wood Program, Helsinki – Finland

July 18th, 2017 by retail design blog

Designed and constructed by a team of 20 students from the Aalto University’s Wood Program, the pavilion provides a sheltered stage for Annantalo, an art center for young people and families in the center of Helsinki, Finland. The stage is build as a semi-permanent building and will accommodate various art events from the school during the summers for the next five years.

The stage is based on a square shape plan to provide a flexible and democratic space suitable for many types of presentations. The flexibility of the space intends to be a tools for the teachers and students of the school in there creative process. The design provides a main stage for artists and a 60 people audience, with the possibility to extend the show outside and host a larger event.

A variation of triangular shapes that determine the walls and openings of the stage also serve as structural elements of the project. The geometry of the roof follows the same principles, raising up to emphasize the location of the stage by means of a set of beams forming a parabolic structure. The walls and deck structures were prefabricated from solid spruce wood in the program’s workshop in Otaniemi and assembled on site.

The glulam beams were factory made and assembled on site in one day. Plywood sheets for the covering were CNC cut to adjust to the geometry and assembled on site the same day. Each step of the project has been documented lovingly online through the official website (a-lava.com) as students tracked the many steps of building a quality design at full scale.

Photography: Marc Goodwin, Philip Tidwell


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