Photo by Juho Haavisto / MFA.
Photo by Juho Haavisto / MFA.

Transformation in Helsinki: Shenzhen Biennale exhibition has come to an end

UABB Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Shenzhen, 4.12.2015–4.3.2016. 

The Finnish contribution to the 2015 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture titled “WAY – Seaway, Railway, Bikeway” described the transformations that have taken place in Helsinki during the last 200 years. Finland now participated for the second time in the major Biennale held in Shenzhen, the major Chinese city immediately north of Hong Kong. The exhibition was produced by the Museum of Finnish Architecture in collaboration with the Architecture Information Centre Finland. Acting as advisory experts on the content production were Professor Panu Lehtovuori from Tampere University of Technology and architect Jari Huhtaniemi from the City of Helsinki Planning Department.

The Finnish exhibition at the Biennale examined the transformation to Helsinki on an axis extending from the West Harbour to Töölö Bay. The axis takes on a tangible form in the Baana pedestrian and bicycle route that runs along the former harbour railway cutting. By observing the historical stages of the route, the transformation can be seen from northern coastal town to industrialized community to the present and beyond towards a visionary future.

At various times, people have desired different things from urban life. Three different “roads” in the exhibition described the changes in ideology and urban planning: the sea route that emerged from the needs of a free-trade area, the railway that upheld the central link between the harbour and the railway station in the nation state, and the present bicycle route that represents the citizens’ urban thinking.

The Finnish contribution to the 2015 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, WAY – Seaway, Railway, Bikeway, described the transformation that Helsinki has undergone during 200 years. Photo: Juho Haavisto / MFA.

The Finnish contribution to the 2015 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, WAY – Seaway, Railway, Bikeway, described the transformation that Helsinki has undergone during 200 years. Photo: Juho Haavisto / MFA.

Juulia Kauste, Director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, at the opening ceremony on December 4,2015. On the left, the exhibition concept designer Tuomo Tammenpää. Photo: Juho Haavisto / MFA.

Juulia Kauste, Director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture, at the opening ceremony on December 4,2015. On the left, the exhibition concept designer Tuomo Tammenpää. Photo: Juho Haavisto / MFA.

 

Way – Seaway, Railway, Bikeway’ sheds light on the development of the Töölönlahti and Jätkäsaari areas in Helsinki over the past 200 years. Currently the areas are connected by the Baana pedestrian and bicycle route. The Finnish exhibition inspires reflection on the history of Helsinki in relation to Shenzhen, where a similar change is underway, albeit forging ahead much faster.
— Juulia Kauste, head of the exhibition curatorial work team

The exhibition was realised with the support of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Read more about the exhibition here: en.szhkbiennale.org.

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