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Kamppi Chapel of Silence

In central Helsinki, the 3,789 square-foot Kamppi Chapel offers a quiet place of contemplation amidst its urban surroundings. The chapel’s walls and all the furniture are made of solid wood. Despite the immense size of the building, the only actual chapel is located in the wooden bowl. The glass walls of the rest of the building serve as exhibition space. The Kamppi Chapel of Silence, which opened in Helsinki in 2012, has already become an iconic landmark of the Finnish capital.

Kamppi-Chapel-of-Silence-Helsinki-Finland-By-K2S-Architects-02-flickr-Anders-Bengtsson-759x506 Kamppi Chapel of Silence - Helsinki, Finland / K2S Architects

© flickr-Anders Bengtsson

The Chapel was designed by Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola and Mikko Summanen of K2S Architects Ltd. The Chapel is operated by Helsinki parishes and the Social Services Department of the City of Helsinki. It is meant to be a place of silence in the crowded city centre but also a place for meeting people.

Kamppi-Chapel-of-Silence-Helsinki-Finland-By-K2S-Architects-10-tuomas-uusheimo-759x506 Kamppi Chapel of Silence - Helsinki, Finland / K2S Architects

© tuomas uusheimo

Kamppi Chapel of Silence is an Evangelical Lutheran chapel situated in Narinkka Square. It was opened to the public in 2012 and is operated by various Helsinki parishes and the Social Services Department of the City of Helsinki. This thesis analyses the media reaction evoked by a spiritual building being created in the heart of a commercial city centre.

Kamppi-Chapel-of-Silence-Helsinki-Finland-By-K2S-Architects-13-tuomas-uusheimo-759x854 Kamppi Chapel of Silence - Helsinki, Finland / K2S Architects

© tuomas uusheimo

Features:

  • A fine example of Finnish wooden architecture, this futuristic chapel is a place for quiet meditation amidst the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
  • The chapel’s gently shaped wooden interior embraces visitors, as if by shielding them from the bustling city life outside. The space is defined by natural light flowing down diagonally from skylights. Only the actual chapel space is located in the wooden volume.
Kamppi-Chapel-of-Silence-Helsinki-Finland-By-K2S-Architects-17-tuomas-uusheimo-759x506 Kamppi Chapel of Silence - Helsinki, Finland / K2S Architects

© tuomas uusheimo

  • The chapel was built as a point of silent reflection amidst in the metropolitan area. It is a simple iconic representation of the Finnish use of northern light and wood. The distinctive curves of the thick wall are carefully choreographed to draw the visitor to the alter. The visitor can feel the sensuous curves of the wall and the warmth of the material. The gentle illumination by the northern lights upon the wooden walls, encloses the visitors in the warmth of the wood.
  • The curved shape of the small-scale Chapel building allows the space and views to flow in the urban surroundings. The façades are constructed of horizontal spruce strips, bent at different radiuses. The wood is glazed with a special wax utilizing nanotechnology and the frame is prepared of massive gluelam beams, which were cut to shape.
Kamppi-Chapel-of-Silence-Helsinki-Finland-By-K2S-Architects-29-tuomas-uusheimo-759x506 Kamppi Chapel of Silence - Helsinki, Finland / K2S Architects

© tuomas uusheimo

K2S Architects:

This small wooden chapel introduces a place for silence and peace in the lively commercial centre of Helsinki. The chapel space is located in a sculptural wooden volume. The interior is warm and enclosed from the surrounding urban life. Indirect toplight enlightens the wooden chapel interior. The chapel provides services by both Helsinki Parish Union and the city of Helsinki.

Kamppi-Chapel-of-Silence-Helsinki-Finland-By-K2S-Architects-32-tuomas-uusheimo-759x506 Kamppi Chapel of Silence - Helsinki, Finland / K2S Architects

© tuomas uusheimo

Located on the southern side of the bustling Narinkaa Square, the thick wooden walls of the windowless, curved Chapel block out all noise and create a calm atmosphere for relaxation and reflection. As its name suggests, the Chapel is meant to serve as a refuge from the busy urban district. Although most people in Finland are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, this chapel is open to people of any faith. Unlike traditional Chapels, no formal services are held in the space. It is a multi-faith sanctuary meant for quiet contemplation and escape from the chaos of daily life.

Kamppi-Chapel-of-Silence-Helsinki-Finland-By-K2S-Architects-38-flickr-Richard-Akerman-750x1000 Kamppi Chapel of Silence - Helsinki, Finland / K2S Architects

© flickr-Richard Akerman

The building can be approached from all directions but can only be entered through a concrete-walled lobby on the side furthest from Narinkaa Square. The elliptical wooden volume holds only the chapel space. Secondary spaces are located in the short rectangular volume attached to the chapel on the side furthest from the square. The interior walls of the chapel are made of thick oiled alder planks. A skinny ring of skylights around the perimeter of the space washes down the walls, creating a warm and serene calm.

Kamppi-Chapel-of-Silence-Helsinki-Finland-By-K2S-Architects-54-public-domain-759x488 Kamppi Chapel of Silence - Helsinki, Finland / K2S Architects

© public domain

Project Data:

Project name: Kamppi Chapel of Silence
Location: Simonsgatan 7 00100 Helsingfors, Helsinki, Finland
Coordinates: 60.169462, 24.935912
Type: Chapel
Project Area: 300 sqm
Height: 11.5 m (37 ft 9 in)
Project Planning: 2008-2012
Status: Built
Completion Year: May 2012

Awards:

  • 2010 – The International Architecture Awards – The best new global design – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Helsinki Parish Union
Architects: K2S Architects – Olympiastadion Eteläkaarre C1 00250 Helsinki, Finland
Project Architect: Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola and Mikko Summanen
Structural Engineer: Insinööritoimisto Vahanen Oy Matti Kivinen, Ulla Harju
CGI: 37d Architecture Office
Text Description: © K2S Architects
Images: © K2S Architects, tuomas uusheimo, flickr-Jon Reid, flickr-Anders Bengtsson, flickr-Hans Jan Durr, flickr-socialBedia

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Kamppi Chapel of Silence - Helsinki, Finland / K2S Architects
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