The Siberian larch icon shelter with a vaulted roof structure protects and complements the massive mosaic icons.
The tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church is strong in our part of Finland – and one proof of that is this new piece of icon art that was put up on the courtyard of the Orthodox Cultural Center and Seminary in Joensuu. Our task was to build the icon shelter with vaulted roof – and most importantly to consider carefully what kind of structures and joints will hold the weight of the two 100-kilo mosaic icons at least for the next 100 years.
The mosaic icons were made by a Greek icon artist and teacher or icon painting, Konstantinos Ksenopoulos and his son Krysostomos. The shelter was designed by architect Markku Korjonen.
The material for this 3.2-meter wide and 3.5-meter tall shelter is Siberian larch, which is naturally weather-resistant. The most intriguing part of the building process was the bending of the roof elements: we glued multiple 4-millimeter layers of wood together and bent them with the help of molds.
The pillars are also made from Siberian larch and the whole shelter stands steady on top of a heavy stone base. The standing-seam roof made by a local plater protects the mosaic icon from rain and snow.
It sure was a memorable moment when the icons were revealed on that sunny summer day – and the icon artist himself was there to witness the first moments when the mosaics and the shelter played together as a complete piece of art. The warm colors of the larch highlight the colors of the icons beautifully – and as the wood ages, it turns gradually grey and even more graceful 🙂