An international team of students from Finland, Japan, the U.S., the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal built this beautiful egg-shaped tower at Helsinki’s Korkeasaari Zoo. Supervised by Professor Jan Söderlund of the The Helsinki University of Technology Wood Studio, architect Risto Huttunen and Avanto Architects, the 10-meter-high structure was made using steam bending, a traditional and eco-friendly wood-shaping technique commonly used in boat construction.
The bubble-like Korkeasaari Zoo’s lookout tower consists of two levels wrapped around with a wooden grid shell left open at the top. Made completely out of local laminated timber, it was treated with non-toxic linen oil that protects the wood from aging and UV rays. It was hand-built in only three months, using the energy-efficient steam bent technique and assembled on site.
To build the tower tower, the students first made 3D-computer models and from that, scale models to carefully explore the structural details. When the small models were tested, they created a laborious two-meter-high one to five model before building the 10-metres high standing tower. A visible landmark in the Helsinki sea line, the see-through tower establishes a top connection between people and the environment.
Photos by Jussi Tiainen, HUT Photography Laboratory