Published in 5/2020 - Monument


New Colossi

Text Antti Auvinen Images Antti Auvinen

Bigness is becoming a prominent feature of Helsinki’s cityscape. Antti Auvinen’s photographs examine the phenomenon.

When arriving from the east to the urban core of Helsinki in the future, the most dominant sight one will encounter are the eight monumental towers of the Redi shopping centre. The project is not only massive in its vertical but also in its horisontal dimensions. Dimensions have slowly ballooned from the original plans from over a decade ago, as Lee Marable pointed out in ​Arkkitehti​ 6/2019

When arriving to the city by train from the north, the traveller now pierces through the newly finished Tripla complex which rises high above its neighbouring buildings as if at 2:1 scale to the existing buildings of Eastern Pasila. Serving as design consultant in the competition phase was the Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Starchitect and OMA founder Rem Koolhaas wrote about the subject of “​bigness”​ in his canonical – and undeniably big – book ​S, M, L, XL​ already in 1995. Bigness​ is a new kind of architecture that no longer needs the city because the complexity it contains makes it itself urban. It coexists with the classical city but is incapable of having a relationship with it. 

Big things have long been intriguing and even wondrous. The Colossus of Rhodes stood by the harbor of the ancient Greek city, greeting arriving ships. Its merit for being chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was its unusually large size. ↙

Architect, who is interested in meanings, experiences and power relations in the built environment and their interpretations through text and images.