Helsinki Zoo Observation Tower Kupla
Korkeasaari Zoo has approximately half a million visitors annually. In spring 1997 the City of Helsinki organised an invited competition for the Zoo’s reception building. The entry ”Korona” (referring to the shape of the building) by A6 Architects won the competition.
The curved building creates a warm, protective shelter around the yard. The yard is secure from the wind but opens in the essential directions. Pedestrian traffic arriving from buses and the coastal path is directed through the yard to the bridge leading to the Zoo. Maintenance traffic uses the western side of the reception building to reach the bridge and is thus separated from the streams of pedestrian traffic.
The facilities have been grouped on the curve. The south curve of the narrow-framed building houses the ticket office, staff facilities, a cafeteria, a souvenir shop, and a kiosk. The north curve contains the storeroom for the pushchairs that can be borrowed by the public, a public lavatory, and technical facilities.
The cafeteria has two terraces, one with a sea-view and the morning sun and one which catches the evening sun in the yard. The building is steel-framed; the façades are made of glass and virtually knotless, oil-glazed spruce panel. The roof is of painted, mechanically seamed sheet metal.
The building was designed by Tapio Saarelainen and Heikki Mäkinen. They were assisted by Eeva Kilpiö, Jukka Linko and Jaakko Sutela and Heikki Nieminen.
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 5/1999