Helsinki was a World Design Capital in 2012 and in conjunction with this a Chapel of Silence was designed and constructed in the centre of Helsinki. This extraordinary structure won the 2010 International Architecture Awards and was designed by local Finnish architects Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola and Mikko Summanen of K2S Architects Ltd.
It is located in the corner of Narinkkatori Square near the Kamppi shopping centre, upon entering the square it immediately stands out as it is such a welcoming sight of calming curved wood surrounded by the bustle of a busy city centre.
It is open from early morning to early evening and offers a perfect place to sit in silence, and in a place of safety, for a few minutes or more. Entrance is via a side glass door which leads to a small exhibition and reception area, and a wooden door which allows entry into the chapel itself. Inside it has been very simply furnished, a double set of six benches for seating, bare walls and well lit from above. The entire structure is made from wood, common alder planks have been used for the inside and this creates a very warm atmosphere.
The chapel blocks out all sound and is a very calm place, it is very easy to sit and be at peace. At certain times of the day there is a service, in Finnish, and even though for tourists it is not possible to know what is being said, it is easy to guess the meaning as it adds to the comforting atmosphere.
In today’s very busy world, which doesn’t allow people to take a few moments to rest or relax, it is admirable to find a place dedicated to giving us a place for some respite, which is no doubt why this building is so popular besides the fact that it is so well designed.
Kamppi Chapel of Silence
Address: 7 Simonkatu, 00100 Helsinki
Opening Hours: 7:00-20:00 (Saturday and Sunday 10:00-18:00)
Tel: +358 (0)9 2340 2018
Text: Mike Sullivan