The Rock Church – an interesting piece of modern architecture:
Temppeliaukio Kirkko is more commonly known by its English name The Rock Church or Church in the Rock. It was designed by two architect brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, who chose a rocky outcrop as the site for their church.
The underground Rock Church was built inside of a massive block of natural granite in the middle of Töölö , an ordinary residential square in Helsinki. It must have given residents an almighty fright when the brothers blasted out the walls from inside the rock.
When we arrived at the Rock Church, my first impression was one of disappointment. The exterior of the church looks like a stack of rocks or some kind of bunker. It has a copper dome roof sticking out of the rock and anyone seeing it from above could well mistaken it for an alien spaceship which has mistakenly landed on earth!
However, on entering the church it becomes clear why this place is a popular Helsinki attraction. The architects have built in a combination of natural and man-made features into the circular church and its features are quite striking. The walls are of bare rock, the ceiling is a giant disc made of entirely of copper wire and interior lighting is from natural light streaming through 180 vertical glass window panes that connect the dome and the wall. A solid copper-colored balcony provides a nice view of the church interior from above.
A Helsinki Lutheran Church
The Rock Church is a functioning Lutheran church which is also frequently used to host classical concerts. With the raw rock walls, the acoustics are excellent. Interestingly, there are no bells at the church, and a recording of bells composed by Taneli Kuusisto is played over the loudspeakers on the exterior wall.
The Rock Church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki and half a million people visit it annually. Entry to the church is free, however no visits are allowed during services and special events.
Temppeliaukio Kirkko or The Rock Church is an interesting contrast to the opulent churches that one tends to visit on many European holidays.