HELSINKI – To counter the blinding summer sunlight, VAV Architects designed the Light Lab 5.1, a pavilion that creates a coccoon of darkness in a Helsinki square.
The pavilion was designed with students from the European Architecture Students Assembly (EASA), as part of a workshop series held in the Scandinavian capital this past summer.
During the summer months, Helsinki experiences near-constant daylight, and the electric-hued pavilion doubled as an over-sized sun-dial. The structure was large enough for one or two people to enter, by rolling aside one of the triangular walls. Within, visitors were enveloped in darkness, forcing the eyes to re-adjust (and providing relief for anyone suffering from heat stroke.)
Once settled, visitors were able to rest on a built-in bench. When they reclined, the wall behind them opened up to release a bright sliver of sunlight, forcing the eyes to adjust once again.
'We wanted the pavilion to serve a duality of purpose,’ the designers said. ‘Not only should it be a place of retreat from the sun’s overpowering intrusiveness, but a place where light and its impact is understood, appreciated and respected.’
Photos courtesy of VAV Architects and Jonathan Russel