The only public building of the port, the Seafarer’s Centre, is an oasis for seamen who have travelled a long way.
The Seafarer’s Centre is located at the northernmost corner of the entrance area to Vuosaari Port. The site is the only place incorporating natural elements in the entire port area.
The small centre was almost overwhelmed by the massive, hectare-sized steel warehouses, and the artificial landscape of tarmac fields and containers. Due to this David and Goliath setting, softer, more organic forms and wood were selected for the building. The small hill with its trees and rocks was included as part of the architectural solution. This made the building more expressive than its size indicates.
The building is unique and offers travelers from far away an image of a strange but friendly place. Maritime images have been freely used, and the forms of ships have been a source of inspiration. Wooden structures combined with the compact form are homage to sailing ships.
The wooden frame of the building and the laminated veneer lumber rafters have been reinforced by concrete walls cast onsite. The board lining of the southern exterior face has been diagonally interleaved, and the north-side profile consists of vertically slanted Norwegian-style tongue-in-groove siding. The timber siding has been manufactured from lightly tinted Siberian larch.
The Seafarer’s Centre has been consecrated as a church. The fact that it is a consecrated building is subtly expressed, in order to respect the religion and cultural background of all visitors.
Project in brief
- Location | Vuosaari, Helsinki
- Purpose | Seafarer's Centre
- Constructor/Client | Suomen Merimieskirkko ry
- Architectural Design | ARK-house architects ltd
- Structural design | Insinööritoimisto Taskinen & Eiskonen Oy
- Contractor | Suomen Projektiurakointi Oy
- Year completed | 2009
- Photographs | Kimmo Räisänen
- Text | Pentti Kareoja