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12/6/2023 Merirasti chapel

Helsinki, Finland

TEMPORARY BUILDINGS
ON RENTAL LOTS

On June 12th, 2023, nearly thirty years after Merirasti chapel's inauguration, a surprising announcement emerged: demolition of the building was scheduled to commence in September. This news came to light by chance when a passerby, walking near the entrance, spotted an unusual paper in the window announcing the verdict.

 

Unbeknownst to the locals, the application for a demolition permit had been submitted discreetly to the building control authority. However, the demolition permit has not yet been granted. The residents have expressed concerns about potential vandalism if the chapel's state is publicly disclosed in this manner.

 

Some eight months ago, the building was vacated by the congregation and has, since then, stood empty. The consortium of congregations in Helsinki that manages the real estate is now eager to divest itself of the property. A significant factor contributing to their decision to vacate was the fact that the building was situated on a rented lot. Over time, the city had steadily raised the rents for the land, prompting the consortium to focus its limited resources on maintaining real estate it owned outright.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The current system raises the question: is it reasonable to assume that all buildings located on rental lots would be temporary?

Commodities such as land or buildings exchange owners in a way that is quite detached from material reality. Upon vacating the rental lot, the land must be returned to the city in the condition in which it was originally received: empty. The current system raises the question: is it reasonable to assume that all buildings located on rental lots would be temporary?

 

Commodities such as land or buildings exchange owners in a way that is quite detached from material reality. Upon vacating the rental lot, the land must be returned to the city in the condition in which it was originally received: empty. The current system raises the question: is it reasonable to assume that all buildings located on rental lots would be temporary? If no other agreement is made the church is obligated to demolish the building as their lease on the land ends.

 

The local resident movement has advocated that the future of the chapel should be determined through an upcoming architectural competition that also involves the block where the chapel is located, alongside a school and a youth center. In the least there should be open discussion on the matter as the chapel’s demolition was not part of the political decision making of the now approved urban plan. The residents fear that if they are not alert the chapel will disappear in silence. Nothing so irreversible should happen without an open debate.

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