tuula närhinen


An Odyssey around the Urban Shoreline

The city of Helsinki is part of the Finnish archipelago. Originally the Helsinki peninsula was surrounded by many islands of which only a few still exist. During its lifetime the city has extended towards the sea using filling earth to unite the nearest islands to the mainland. Within the downtown area at least 16 islands have disappeared from the city map.

The former islands work as mileposts on a journey which brings together the changes to the coastal areas into one story - an Odyssey of the Helsinki shoreline. Two hundred years ago this journey could have been done by the sea following the same itinerary as Ulysses today. At present the diverse topography of the islands has given way to fill and asphalt. Nothing but the names remain of the former islands.

  • The Odyssey
  • Miniature landscapes
  • Disappeared Islands

  • Although a great part of the islands and the natural shores have been covered by asphalt, the sea remains an uncontrollable element in the city. The work pays homage to the urban seashore- a place of discovery, fantasy, adventure and freedom.

    . 'Ulysses in Helsinki' exhibited at the Department of Architecture, Helsinki University of Technology, May 1998
    'Ulysses in Helsinki' exhibited at The Pineapple Project Room, Malmö, Sweden, December 1998