In a unique monument on Seurasaari island in Helsinki, Finland, stainless steel roof brings lyrics to life. Echoing the mythology of The Kalevala, Finland’s national epic, the Shaman’s Haven is solidly rooted to the ground beneath a stainless steel roof that seems to float overhead, supported by nearly invisible glass.
The ship-like structure – a design-build project undertaken by students at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and Aalto University in Helsinki – is built of wood, glass and stainless steel.
The roof forms a compound curve suggestive of a cracking egg, reflecting The Kalevala’s story of the earth’s creation. Creative, expressive architecture evokes the mystery of the saga – and the use of stainless steel helps translate that mystery into form.
Delicate yet strong
In the roof of the Shaman’s Haven, exceedingly thin material is used to craft a complex shape that reflects the sea. The roof appears delicate, even fragile, but stainless steel lends it impressive strength. And because it is built of corrosion-resistant stainless steel, the roof is equipped to withstand the harsh Nordic seaside environment.
Inside the structure, stainless plays a key role as well. Reflective, bright-annealed stainless covers the ceiling, creating an ever-changing interplay of light. Stainless steel tube sections were bolted into granite to form the base of the structure, and stainless steel plate sections were used to build the roof’s support structure.
Properties lend versatility
Stainless steel is an inspired choice for architectural projects with demanding structural solutions and complex forms. Excellent strength, corrosion resistance and formability work together, to create innovative structures with low life-cycle costs.
Most of the Shaman’s Haven’s stainless elements were prefabricated. The roof and ceiling are formed of bright-annealed Outokumpu Supra 316L/4404. Plates were water jet cut at Outokumpu’s Plate Service Center in Jyväskylä, Finland.