Matter Over Mind: The New Finnish Institute in Newcastle

jack lines 200x280

The Finnish Institute in London organised a graduation project for architecture students in collaboration with Newcastle University.

The brief for the project titled The New Finnish Institute in Newcastle was to design a space for an imaginary Finnish Institute in Newcastle. The jury picked the winning project, Matter Over Mind by Jack Lines, from 21 strong proposals.

'I loved every single one of the proposals and could see a potential for our operative purposes,' says Raija Koli, Director of the Finnish Institute. 'But there was something in Jack's work that speaks of openness, clarity of form and community that we responded to. We also appreciate the way he has incorporated the site's past into his work – in the way the silhouette of the existing buildings is repeated in his and how he has researched the history of the site.'

The starting point of the brief was the Institute's mission to act as a catalyst to promote collaboration between cultural agents in Finland, UK and Ireland. Each student chose one main activity for the Institute, varying from music to academic research, work with literacy, craftsmanship, ball dancing, environmental activism and fine arts. The students had to also contemplate their approach to 'Finnishness', and having the Finnish Institute as a hypothetical client, enabled students to gain valuable experience in working with non-British clients.

Jack Lines is inspired by minimalist architecture and design and his proposal, located on Gateshead quayside beneath the high level bridge, aimed to allow the Institute to exhibit high quality artisan craft – the main activity he had chosen – while visitors can journey through the building experiencing the raw material, process of making and the finished product. Lines aimed to create a series of spaces inspired by monastic principles and Finnish simplicity of design, providing the Institute with direct contact to their collaborators and allowing for more flexible and spontaneous interaction between local and visiting designers.

Tutors for the project were Kati Blom, project leader, and David McKenna. The Finnish Institute awarded Lines with a trip to Helsinki which is celebrating its year as a World Design Capital.