Avanto Architects / FIN
White Box
Our focus is on people and our architecture is more a framework for users than just physical buildings or architectural objects.
There is a plain white 600x600x600mm cube in the Pavilion standing on the standard steel pedestal. The WhiteBox symbolizes the “traditional” Finnish modernist architecture of which we are a part, but which we also find uninspiring.
One side of the WhiteBox is open; when you look inside you find a screen with an integral web camera that connects you with an identical screen inside an identical box in the Helsinki city center. There is a virtual connection between the two boxes so that they are like windows to the other city, the other country. Through this simple device, people from two different locations can communicate with each other and participate in each other’s lives. Even though video calls are already common, the WhiteBox situation is very special. Suddenly you are in contact with a random person from different country and background. There is a joy of discovery as you understand the moment.
There are further layers of meanings and hidden connections between the boxes. The WhiteBox in Helsinki is inside the Kamppi shopping center designed by Juhani Pallasmaa – the designer of the pedestal stands in the Biennale exhibition. The Helsinki location in a hectic shopping mall comments upon the Biennale with a warm irony. As the architects’ profession is very isolated from the rest of the society (at least in Finland), we wanted to encourage connections between professionals visiting the Biennale and passersby in the mall. The use of such a technical device references the Finnish high technology that our culture is so proud of … forgetting that after all culture is fundamentally about our lives, our humanity.

Photo: Ilari Järvinen

More information about the exhibition and the other models