Finnish Science Center Heureka

Vantaa, Finland

1988

The Science Center is located at the junction of the busiest railway line in Finland and the Kerava River, a cultural landscape that has a rich history dating back to the Bronze Age. An agglomeration of concrete, steel, and wooden constructions contains an auditorium, classrooms, and a combined planetarium and wide-screen cinema. For each architectural element, an appropriate structural system was developed.

The design of the science center refers to the contradictory dynamics of nature itself, forces seeking order and balance countered by disruptive and chaotic tendencies. Scientific analyses and demonstrations of natural phenomena have been integrated into the architectural and landscaping themes. The reflective glass facade facing the railway line is an acoustical shield against noise from the trains; its steel structure displays the color spectrum of visible light. The stone garden that dominates the entryway to the building re-creates Finland's geological map, reflecting the long cycle of nature.

The name of the center, Heureka, was derived from the code name of the competition entry. Together with the Archimedean inventive mind, a critical stand should be retained: the sculpture of four illusionistic cubes by Anssi Asunta at the main entrance reminds the visitor not to rely only on one's own eyes.