BY TIINA ALVESALO
The Chapel of Silence built in the middle of the busiest section of Helsinki offers comfort to those who need it the most, regardless of creed and wallet size. The chapel is open from morning to evening, and visitors can meet employers of both congregations and social services there. Questions are answered about anything from bus schedules and spiritual matters to how to seek help for the problems of homelessness.
The chapel is simple in design. It is built of wood and has a sculptural form. It is a place where people and an important theme for World Design Capital 2012 meet: permanent improvement of the cityscape through service design. The chapel is one of those design year monuments that will remain a part of the Helsinki city landscape.
Mikko Summanen, why did you want to build a chapel in the middle of the busiest city center?
”The aim was to create an alternative to the restless buzz and the commerciality of the city.”
What did you need to take into account?
”We wanted to design a humane building.”
How do you think citizens experience the building?
”The chapel brings order to a busy square and reorganizes the space so that it becomes more functional.”