Monday, August 30, 2010


Beautiful photo by Bobby Blabobil.

Time elapse

We are done! 10 days later, the Kalevalakehto is complete and beautiful. Take a look for yourself from start to finish.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 7 construction AND U2 at our hostel!

Public opening

Opening night number two was much more low key. The singers floated back onto the island on their church boat while performing music. The kalevalakehto was lit with the Iittala candles that were generously donated to the project.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 6 Video

Opening Night of the Kalevalakehto

The finished product.

Lining the way to the Kalevalakehto for the guests.

The kantela players arriving to shore.

Junior Finnish national champions lined the path to the Kalevalakehto and performed.
After Travis Price's speech at the site, the crowd was led to the festivities area to watch a full performance of the dancers.
Reception at the restaurant.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 5 video

Day 11 in photos

don't forget the opening tonight! Dancing starts at 5:30 on Seurasaari!

in the news

Travis Price was interviewed by Helsingin Sanomat for the Spirit of Place project. And for those confident in their Finnish skills, here's a bit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 10 in photos

We're slightly delayed in photos here because the real update is that the project is done! That's right...fini. I know you're dying to see photos, but you're just gonna have to wait a bit longer.

Gallery opening for Spirit of Place

You are invited to a gallery opening of The Spirit of Place: Kalevalakehto and designs for a National Museum of the Kalevala, this Friday, August 27th, from 5-7pm at the Virka Gallery, City Hall, Pohjoisesplandi 11-13 and Sofiankatu 1.

This exhibition of the work of American and Finnish architecture students from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and Aalto University in Helsinki features students' sculptural, literary, and design explorations into the lyrics and metaphors of the Kalevala. These explorations were conducted at a 9-day design charrette held at the Embassy of Finland in Washington, DC, in which students led by American architect and professor Travis Price designed the Kalevakehto, an architectural installation inspired by the themes of the Kalevala, constructed by the students during 9 days in August 2010 at the southern point of Seurasaari.

In addition to the Kalevalakehto, the exhibit also features the work of a graduate architecture studio at Catholic University also taught by Prof. Price, in which students created hypothetical designs for a National Museum of the Kalevala, to also include a major public park and hotel at Helsinki harbor.

At this event, Irma-Riitta J√§rvinen of the Finnish Literary Society, will be signing copies her recent book, an English- language Kalevala Guide. 

Check out for more info

Day 4 construction

Another piece of News

Finnish National News, STV, featured Travis Price and Brittany Watson on their news segment. Click here for the link.

Spirit of Place on Finnish national TV

Spirit of Place has been gaining major momentum in the last few days. Monday, several of the largest news stations checked out the Kalevalakehto project on Seurasaari and they are now available for the web:

Travis Price, Bobby Blabolil, student from Catholic University and Inka Saini, student from Alvar Aalto University are interviewed in this clip from YLE. Go to about 7:20 to watch our segment. Click on the link here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

getting into the "spirit of things"

Travis, Kathleen, and I were invited to attend a going away party for a nice fatherly Santa figure at the nearby Folk Center. Instead of presents he just wanted to dance with friends. He made a dance playlist and this is what happend:

In a sudden change of events, we became a part of the action! The group delightfully invited us into their circle and we had a great time pretending (and not so well either) that we knew how to authentically dance Finnish folk. Some shots from the event:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 8 and 9 in photos

Plywood is done!

and sanded!

The floor crew cleaning and sealing the pine floors

The steel sheets applied to the roof

we're getting there!

Introducing...George Murphy

As a master of architecture from Catholic University in 2004 and former Spirit of Place participant, George Murphy was a natural choice to lead the crew in 2010. Coming to Finland was extremely appealing, as was the idea of doing something physical demanding while reaching out to a group of students to help them realize something they designed on paper. What did he plan on getting out of the project? "[they] are immeasurable. Working with Travis, Kathleen and Sheila...Interacting with a group of students...seeing a student gain confidence using a tool that would normally be unavailable to them...I think ultimately it's making sure the students have the best experience possible and that at the same time they learn something about the practice of architecture that they can't learn in a lecture in Washington, DC." George currently works as a designer for Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects in Philadelphia and is working towards a license.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

3rd Day of construction

Introducing...Maria Angelico

Maria Angelico was intrigued by the concept of this year's Spirit of Place and its location when she decided to become a part of the Kalevala project. She has immersed herself into this design-build by experiencing a new culture of "coffee, Kalevala, sauna," as stated by the curator of Seurasaari island, Aila. This recent graduate from Catholic University in architecture works within the event planning and design sector of PEJ, Inc. while applying for graduate programs in architecture and business school. Of the Kalevala, Maria says, "I actually only was aware that it has some tie to the Tolkien trilogy. I have learned that the Kalevala is so much more than a story, it is actually a part of who the Finnish people are."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

catching some z's

Day7 in photos

Plywood attached to the trusses
finished benches will be placed along the perimeter of the interior

Day 2 of construction

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 6 in photos

The most stunning moment so far: witnessing the lowering of the roof onto the safety of the steel brackets. Take a look for yourself. 

adding plywood to the finished roof skeleton comprised of trusses
the new lowered roof. Steel on steel brackets.
furniture design team
roof skeleton

coffee break

Our dear friends from the Seurasaari Foundation brought the team some homemade pastries for a midday snack. In this video, Aila discusses the importance of our midday break.