In an age where churches and chapels are being repurposed into residential condos or community centres, the Finnish decided to build a brand new chapel in the heart of hip Helsinki. It's not entirely clear what brand of religion will be practiced here, instead, the Kampii Chapel of Silence was erected with the intention of creating a quiet space in the bustling city. Completed in 2012 and designed by Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola and Mikko Summanen, the chapel is operated on a partnership basis by the Helsinki Parish Union, the Espoo and Vantaa parish unions (neighbouring cities), and the Social Services Department of the City of Helsinki.
The chapel is ecumenical and welcomes everyone irrespective of religion, philosophy or background. The denomination is listed as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and plans to 'hold regular moments of prayer in the future'. This very non-specific statement alludes to the inclusive nature of the chapel where currently no church services are being held.
In a culture where people are raised to live with less and share more public space, I think it's a beautiful thing to construct award winning architecture for the purpose of creating a place for peace, calm and a moment to reflect. Toronto could look to this model and repurpose our churches and chapels into neutral, non-denominational sacred/spiritual spaces. For this to happen we'd have to prioritize our socialist ideals and turn away from money-making as the primary goal for a successful city.