The Helsinki Biennial Pavilion on the south harbor of Helsinki, Finland, has won the Architecture MasterPrize 2022, an award that honors global designs. That means it is one of the most amazing buildings in the entire world. You don’t have to look very long to know it’s true.

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Circular pavilion for people to walk on and inside

This stunning building was created by Verstas Architects. Additionally, the pavilion is the entrance to the Helsinki Biennial art festival, an event held on Vallisaari island. The design was meant to create an open space for everyone to freely enjoy. There’s an open-air living space full of sea breezes and the crisp saltiness of the nearby sea.

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"Helsinki Biennial" sign on the pavilion

“The distinctive ponds of Vallisaari island, created by natural rocks, are unique. The ponds were formed during the ice age when the circular motion of the rocks carved bays on the cliffs when the ice melted. This round movement of rocks has created exciting forms that are the size of ponds. These elements were our inspiration when designing the pavilion. Our aim was to bring a piece of the archipelago´s nature to the harbor,” said the lead designer of the project, Jussi Palva.

Modular wooden pieces to assemble the pavilion

Furthermore, the structure is made of wood, a material frequently used throughout the region. The pavilion also was built from prefabricated modules, which were shipped by sea and loaded directly onto the site. The design was made to be assembled and disassembled quickly.

Inside the pavilion with timber beams

Meanwhile, the sweeping, circular design is inviting and stunning. In fact, it’s a striking addition to the harbor area. Sunlight pours into the space and a walking path winds its way around the structure, providing fantastic views of the seascape beyond. As a result, it’s a beautiful public space right near the heart of the busy city.

The design, the concept and the sustainable wood material make this building worthy of such a prestigious award. This award winner is, therefore, a stunning example of how buildings can serve the Earth and the people on it.

+ Verstas Architects

Images via Pyry Kantonen