The Väijy watchtower stands on the shores of a public beach area in Helsinki and offers lifeguards a view over the recreational swimming area and the sea. A flight of stairs leads up to small office space, with a storage closet, WC and technical space below.
The building takes advantage of the possibilities of massive cross-laminated timber panels which allow it to lean forward, projecting toward the sea. The large spruce panels were CNC cut and pre-finished in translucent white paint before being assembled on site and fit with doors and insulated glass units. The roof was covered with a thin steel sheet for waterproofing and the stairs were constructed of glue-laminated spruce elements.

Project data

Project completed in November 2008 (Aurinkoranta Beach)

Architectural Design and Construction: Antti Haikala, Anna Heikinheimo, Olli Kivinen, Johannes Lehto, Ville Mellin , Mikko Merz and Grete Terho

Instructors: Pekka Heikkinen , Hannu Hirsi and Risto Huttunen

Implementation: Mikko Merz , Ransu Helenius and Philip Tidwell

Sitework: Helsinki Department of Recreation

Used materials

  • Structural frame – cross laminated timber (CLT)
  • Stairs – glue laminated spruce
  • Doors and interior furnishings – lappish pine