Shanghai Expo 2010 Finland Pavilion “Kirnu”

Shanghai, China
Photo © Hanne Cranberg
Photo © Kari Palsila
Photo © Derryck Menere
Photo © Daniele Mattioli
Photo © Daniele Mattioli
Photo © Kari Palsila
Photo © Daniele Mattiolli
Photo © Kari Palsila
JKMM Architects

The Finnish pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010 is called “Kirnu” (“Giant’s Kettle”).  Kirnu won first prize among 104 entries in the design competition. The Finnish pavilion at Shanghai World Expo 2010 portrays our country in microcosm, presenting both Finland and its society to the world. The sculptural architecture of the pavilion is aimed at creating visions of such themes as freedom, creativity, and innovation. The pavilion emerges like an island from the surface of the water. At the heart of the pavilion is the miniature city’s center and forum for events, the “Giant’s Kettle,” where ideas can meet and mix. The architecture of Kirnu received its inspiration from nature. Its architect’s creative work resembles that of a cook, using the raw ingredients provided by nature to create something new. The concept of the pavilion is that of an island. Its form language is free without symmetry, as is a stone’s. The pavilion is surrounded by a mirror of water, and its surface is covered with shingles resembling fish scales. The entrance is small and shady; the inner atrium opens toward the sky and the clouds. As does nature itself, the pavilion offers a quiet refuge from busy city life for anyone who wishes to enter. The visitor walks on a smooth bridge towards the main entrance, whose fabric surfaces form an inviting portal to the pavilion. A gently sloping ramp ascends within the thick walls of Kirnu toward the exhibition hall, a high space that winds around the atrium. After the exhibition hall, the ramp continues downward to the exit, shop, and restaurant area. Finally, entertainment, meeting, and staff facilities are found on the third floor.

The pavilion’s main purpose is to present a vision of “Good Life.” The six pillars of good life are freedom, creativity, innovation, community spirit, health, and nature. These pillars are integrated into the pavilion’s architecture; in its spatial and functional solutions. The sculptural shape represents the freedom and creativity in construction enabled by technology. Innovation has been introduced into the project in the form of clarity but also in technical details. The pavilion winds around the forum, making the coming-together of people and community spirit part of the building’s basic design. The natural elements of water and sky are an abstract element of the architecture. A comfortable and inspiring miniature city, the pavilion also provides an example of a healthy environment. People, nature, and technology come together here.

 The pavilion is a laboratory for sustainable building, presenting Finnish solutions for future urban construction and keeping to the principles of sustainable development. The most visible example of this is the building’s facade, which is surfaced in scale-like shingles. These scales are made of a mixture of paper and plastic, which is a recycled product of industry.

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Other Projects by JKMM Architects

Viikki Housing for Elderly
Helsinki, Finland
Amos Rex
Helsinki, Finland
Dance House Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland
Leipuri Day Care Center
Helsinki, Finland
House of Children in Saunalahti
Espoo, Finland