Pehr Kalm Explosion

Pehr Kalm Explosion. Portable Greenhouse displayed on different sites in Turku during 2016. Final destination is in the yard of Andersson’s Life on a Leaf house.

The portable greenhouse, Pehr Kalm Explosion, was made for the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Pehr Kalm (1716-1799), a famous scientist from Sweden-Finland. In 1747 he was commissioned by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to travel to the North American colonies and to bring back seeds and plants that might be useful to agriculture. Among his many scientific accomplishments, Kalm can be credited with the description of Niagara Falls written by a trained scientist; he described this phenomenon along the border of New York (United States) and Canada. In addition, he published the first scientific paper on the life cycle of the North American 17-year periodical Cicada.

Kalm’s journal of his travels was published as En Resa til Norra America (Stockholm, 1753–1761). It was translated into German, Dutch, and French, and into English in 1770. Kalm described not only the flora and fauna of the New World, but the lives of the Native Americans and the British and French colonists whom he met. It was published as Peter Kalm’s Travels in North America: The English Version of 1770 (Wilson-Erickson Inc., 1937). This version has become an important standard reference regarding life in colonial North America and has been in continuous print in several updated editions.

Anderson’s interest in buildings and structures not being discussed in the history of Architecture, like grill shelters, pergolas and saunas is now continued with this greenhouse. As a consultant Andersson has used gardener and Kalm-expert Aaja Peura.

The shape and ornamentation of the greenhouse is inspired by plants Kalm brought from America. These plants are also being grown in the greenhouse during 2016 when the greenhouse is rolled into several sites in Turku and around. On the top of the greenhouse three stylized flowers can be seen. Their shape is inspired by the flower Kalmia, which Carl von Linné named after Kalm. The wall ornament is inspired by the flower Sassafrass, which Linné brought to Finland (at that time part of Sweden) from America not because of its utility, but because of the beauty of its leaves.

Andersson has already made an environmental work, Pehr Kalm Revival, honouring the legacy of Kalm, by artistically restoring 1/8 of the original botanical utility garden, founded by Kalm in 1760 in Turku. See this web site for more info.