Uusikylä train station pavilion

Originally created as part of artwork for Kansalaistori Square in Helsinki, this wooden pavilion has found a new home and is a living example of the circular economy. The former artwork now serves passengers at a local train station in Lahti.

Read the article in Finnish: Uudenkylän juna-aseman paviljonki

The wooden pavilion at Uusikylä train station is a sculpture that simultaneously shelters passengers, provides an outdoor exhibition space, and is the starting point for the Salpausselkä hiking trails. Perched on an ancient beach carved into the earth in the ice age, the landscaping around the wooden pavilion highlights its legacy. The pavilion creates a walk-through exhibition space and waiting area, and includes seating under the eaves.

The wooden pavilion was part of the “I.C.E. – Indisputable Case of Emergency” art installation that called for action against climate change. This art installation, set up in Helsinki’s Kansalaistori Square in August 2021, consisted of a wooden exhibition space and nine massive ice blocks. Painted on the square below, the coastal cities around the globe threatened by rising sea levels were then gradually overcome by the water melting off the artwork’s ice blocks. Cecilia Damström composed a piece for I.C.E that was played in the wooden pavilion. The Kansalaistori Square installation, which was part of Lahti’s year as a European Green Capital, drew the attention of major national media and was a hot topic on social media platforms.

The installation was pre-emptively designed to avoid waste once the temporary structure was dismantled. Following the principles of circular economy, the wooden pavilion was given a new purpose as a permanent shelter for passengers at Lahti’s Uusikylä train station. The hope is that the pavilion will increase the appeal of public transit.

The spectacular lighting of this repurposed structure adds a sense of security to the remote station and enlivens the small town that has faded with the structural changes of the times. The initiative is part of the ongoing development of a new municipal zoning plan. As Uusikylä is currently celebrating its 600th anniversary, the plan is for the pavilion to host a permanent exhibition on the area’s history and glacial geology.

The aim was for the wooden pavilion to both serve as a magnificent sculpture at a prime location in central Helsinki and as a long-lasting shelter at a small town train station. This meant that the structure would need to work on two different plots and for two different uses. The pavilion on Kansalaistori Square also had to accommodate Covid restrictions, meaning it had to be easy to pass through and well ventilated.

The challenging carpentry for the pavilion was handled by using three prefabricated modules, which were designed to meet the dimensions allowed in road transport. The pavilion has 23 different frame structures that create a curved interior and roof, and its 9 stiffening frames also form entrances that visually divide up the interior. The frame panels simultaneously serve as backgrounds for information boards and provide arc shaped lighting for the fixed seating. Impregnated wood was used where the pavilion comes into the contact with the ground as the more environmentally friendly vinegar-treated wood was not available in the required time frame. The pavilion’s wooden floor is made of larch installed on its side, and the wooden structures are made of spruce.


Based in Helsinki, AOR Architects works with building design consisting of public buildings, housing and business premises. In addition, AOR is experienced in urban design and city planning with projects ranging from small urban interventions to large city plans. AOR has particular expertise in designing future learning environments, museums and other complex public buildings in demanding urban settings, as well as additions in delicate historical contexts and natural surroundings.

Project in brief

Uusikylä train station pavilion

  • Location | Lahti
  • Purpose | Train station waiting area and outdoor exhibition space
  • Constructor/Client | Kestävä Lahti Foundation and the City of Lahti
  • Valmistumisvuosi | 2021
  • Architectural Design | AOR Arkkitehdit Oy / Erkko Aarti, Lassi Siitonen, Benjamin Åkerblom
  • Structural design | Snowhow Oy / Seppo Mäkinen
  • Electrical design | HL-Elec Oy / Mikko Lehtinen
  • Pääurakoitsija | Timber structures Ebonia Design / Markku Tonttila, Ville Tonttila
  • Muut rakennusliikkeet | Haka-Asfaltointi Oy, Peltisepänliike Pääkkönen Oy, Voimatel Oy
  • Photographs | AOR Arkkitehdit Oy, Benjamin Åkerblom, Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy
  • Text | Erkko Aarti