Finnish Architects Win Competition to Connect Two Alvar Aalto Museums

12:00 - 3 February, 2016
Silmu. Image © Sini Rahikainen, Hannele Cederström, Inka Norros, Kirsti Paloheimo, Maria Kleimola
Silmu. Image © Sini Rahikainen, Hannele Cederström, Inka Norros, Kirsti Paloheimo, Maria Kleimola

A group of young Finnish architects - Sini Rahikainen, Hannele Cederström, Inka Norros, Kirsti Paloheimo, Maria Kleimola - has won an open competition seeking ideas to "connect and integrate" two Alvar Aalto masterpieces - the Alvar Aalto museum and the Museum of Central Finland in Jyväskylä's Ruusupuisto park. With their entry, "Silmu," the winning team was selected over 689 other entries for creating a sensible proposal that met the competitions main goal - "to adapt to its worthy environment in a balanced way, and to find a natural connection with the architecture of Alvar Aalto."

“The high-end entries stand out from the rest with their clear, striking ideas and formal properties. The best things about Silmu were its atmosphere and the subtle contours. It was also seen as adding an extra, tranquil element between the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland, while further increasing the functionality of the outdoor spaces,” says Director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation Tommi Lindh.

Spotlight: Alvar Aalto

07:00 - 3 February, 2016
Jyvaskyla University. Image © Nico Saieh
Jyvaskyla University. Image © Nico Saieh

As one of the key figures of midcentury Modernism and perhaps Finland's most celebrated architect, Alvar Aalto (3 February 1898 – 11 May 1976) was known for his humanistic approach to Modernism. For his characteristically Finnish take on architecture, Aalto has become a key reference point for architecture in the Nordic countries, and his commitment to creating a total work of art left many examples of his design genius not only in buildings but also in their interior features, including furniture, lamps, and glassware design.

Frozen Architecture: From Glistening Snow Shows to Multi-Colored Ice Festivals

09:30 - 21 January, 2016
Oblong Voidspace - Jene Highstein & Steven Holl. The Snow Show, Lapland, 2003 and 2004. Image Courtesy of Fung Collaboratives, Photo Credit: Kostamoinen
Oblong Voidspace - Jene Highstein & Steven Holl. The Snow Show, Lapland, 2003 and 2004. Image Courtesy of Fung Collaboratives, Photo Credit: Kostamoinen

Winter is the perfect time to build structures with ice, a time and a technique that together offer the possibility of a pure white architecture. With a cloudy sky the condition culminates into an impressive whiteout: white architecture, the landscape and the sky dissolve into a diffuse unity without a visible horizon. If clear skies emerge a subtle contrast of warm and cool white appears with yellowish sunrays against the blue sky. However, the ice itself has striking effects as well: The surface appearance ranges from crystal clear glass to soft opaque impressions. And, for the long nights, illumination achieves an additional magical glow and extends the short daylight time.

Worldwide, snow shows, ice hotels and festivals have attracted numerous visitors with glistening snows and stunning lighting solutions. Futhermore, this frozen water strategy presents a sustainable solution par excellence, where the manufacturing and even disposal causes no harm to the environment. Read on to explore the coolest projects and events featuring architects and artists from Finland to China.

Art Suite 2016. Under the Arctic Skin by Rob Harding & Timsam Harding. Image © Icehotel, Asaf Kliger. www.icehotel.com Icehotel 25 by Anja Kilian, Sebastian Andreas Scheller, Wolfgang-A. Lüchow. Image © Icehotel, Paulina Holmgren. www.icehotel.com Oblong Voidspace - Jene Highstein & Steven Holl. The Snow Show, Lapland, 2003 and 2004. Image Courtesy of Fung Collaboratives, Photo Credit: Menne Stenros Ice Time Tunnel - Tatsuo Miyajima & Tadao Ando. The Snow Show, Lapland, 2003 and 2004. Image Courtesy of Fung Collaboratives, Photo Credit: Jeff DeBany +7

'In Therapy' – the Nordic Contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale

04:00 - 20 January, 2016

The Nordic nations—Finland, Norway and Sweden—have reached a pivotal point in their collective, and individual, architectural identities. The Grandfathers of the universal Nordic style—including the likes of Sverre Fehn, Peter Celsing, Gunnar Asplund, Sigurd Lewerentz, Alvar Aalto, and Eero Saarinen—provided a foundation upon which architects and designers since have both thrived on and been confined by. The Nordic Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale—directed by Alejandro Aravena—will be the moment to probe: to discuss, argue, debate and challenge what Nordic architecture really is and, perhaps more importantly, what it could be in years to come.

We're asking for every practice (and individual) across the world who have built work in Finland, Norway and Sweden in the past eight years to submit their project(s) and be part of the largest survey of contemporary Nordic architecture ever compiled.

Update: the Open Call for In Therapy closed on the 24th January 2016.

3 Winners Announced in Finland’s “From Border to Home” Competition

06:00 - 14 January, 2016
Courtesy of Museum of Finnish Architecture
Courtesy of Museum of Finnish Architecture

The Museum of Finnish Architecture, in collaboration with the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA), has announced the winners of its “From Border to Home” competition, which sought solutions for temporary housing seekers who are awaiting a decision on their refugee status, prior to finding more permanent housing in Finland. Ninety-three entries were submitted from countries around the world including Finland, Sweden, Norway, China, Belarus, the United States, and Brazil, among others. Submitted proposals included solutions that would provide a positive social impact, and also support future ideas about long-term living arrangements.

The jury, comprised of architects, members from the Ministry of the Interior, the Finnish Red Cross, and the Finnish Refugee Council, shortlisted seven entries in the first round of judging. They praised the overall quality of the submissions, stating that they ranged in strategies from tackling national issues to creating new buildings, repurposing old sites, and even transforming housing solutions to digital platforms.

From those, three winners tied for first place, chosen due do their “logical coherence and compelling social impact,” according to the jurors. These entries will be showcased in the Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale this upcoming summer.

Lappeenranta City Theatre / ALA Architects

05:00 - 4 December, 2015
© Tuomas Uusheimo
© Tuomas Uusheimo

© Tuomas Uusheimo © Tuomas Uusheimo © Tuomas Uusheimo © Tuomas Uusheimo +17

David Basulto to Curate Nordic Pavilion at 2016 Venice Biennale

12:52 - 3 December, 2015
The Nordic Pavilion in Venice, designed by Sverre Fehn in 1960. Image © Feruzzi
The Nordic Pavilion in Venice, designed by Sverre Fehn in 1960. Image © Feruzzi

The Nordic Pavilion, representing Finland, Norway and Sweden, has selected David Basulto as curator for their exhibition at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Responding to Biennale director Alejandro Aravena's theme for the 2016 event, Reporting from the Front, the exhibition organized by Basulto and the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design (ArkDes) will use Nordic architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture as "a springboard" to understand the future challenges which architecture and the built environment will face. The announcement is accompanied by an open call for completed projects that address these challenges. Selected projects will be displayed in the Sverre Fehn-designed pavilion at the Venice Biennale from May 28th to November 27th 2016.

COBE and Lundén Architecture Envision Transformation of Helsinki's Töölönlahti Bay into "Citizens' Park"

14:00 - 17 November, 2015
© COBE and Lundén Architecture
© COBE and Lundén Architecture

COBE and Lundén Architecture, the Danish-Finnish collaboration that has previously worked together on Tampere's Transport Hub, has revealed a plan to revitalize the Töölönlahti bay area in central Helsinki. Completed for the Finnish creative marketing agency N2, the proposal is a vision of what the area could become after a century of broken promises to clean up the polluted and underutilized area of the city. On their website, N2 estimates that the project would require an investment of €120 million, and if taken up by the government could be completed in time for the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence in 2017.

© COBE and Lundén Architecture © COBE and Lundén Architecture © COBE and Lundén Architecture © Luxigon +10

Open Call: From Border to Home - Housing Solutions for Asylum Seekers

07:30 - 11 November, 2015
Background image from October 19, 2015, when the competition was officially announced and the seminar From Border to home was held at the Museum of Finnish Architecture. Image: https://www.facebook.com/events/459376257575342/
Background image from October 19, 2015, when the competition was officially announced and the seminar From Border to home was held at the Museum of Finnish Architecture. Image: https://www.facebook.com/events/459376257575342/

The Museum of Finnish Architecture, in collaboration with the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA, organizes an open, anonymous architectural competition for the design of solutions to housing needs of refugees in northern Europe.
The submissions will form the basis of an exhibition to be hosted in the Finnish Pavilion at the forthcoming Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016. The main exhibition at the Venice Biennale will be curated by the Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. Its theme, Reporting from the front, is a call for proactive communal responsibility among architectural practitioners.

Exhibition: The Finnish Rowhouse – From Working-Class Housing to Middle-Class Dream

19:30 - 30 September, 2015
Rowhouse Korkalo, Rovaniemi, 1959. © Aimo A. Tuomi / Alvar Aalto Museum Collections
Rowhouse Korkalo, Rovaniemi, 1959. © Aimo A. Tuomi / Alvar Aalto Museum Collections

'The Finnish rowhouse – from working-class housing to middle-class dream' exhibition is showing gems of this lifestyle familiar to all Finns, with the hand of Alvar Aalto and his architect contemporaries powerfully in evidence.

Based on extensive research by Professor Riitta Nikula, the exhibition tells the intriguing story of the rowhouse, uncovering the eventful history of rowhouse living from the 1900s to the 1960s. The exhibition uses drawings, photographs and films to present this high-quality everyday architecture.

OOPEAA's Puukuokka Housing Block Wins 2015 Finlandia Prize

12:00 - 23 September, 2015
Puukuokka Housing Block / OOPEAA. Image © Mikko Auerniitty
Puukuokka Housing Block / OOPEAA. Image © Mikko Auerniitty

Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho has selected OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture's Puukuokka housing block as winner of the 2015 Finlandia Prize for Architecture. Saariaho, this year's sole judge for the prize, choose the eight-story wooden apartment building over four other shortlisted projects "because it demonstrates values that [she] appreciates in life as well as in architecture: it is a courageous and ambitious work that brings together an exploration of new possibilities for building and construction, a humane sensibility, and a quest for ecological solutions as well as a strive towards better quality of life.”

Lumi / Avanto Architects

09:00 - 10 September, 2015
© kuvio.com / Anders Portman and Martin Sommerschield
© kuvio.com / Anders Portman and Martin Sommerschield

© kuvio.com / Anders Portman and Martin Sommerschield © kuvio.com / Anders Portman and Martin Sommerschield © kuvio.com / Anders Portman and Martin Sommerschield © kuvio.com / Anders Portman and Martin Sommerschield +16

Housing in East Lauttasaari / Arkkitehdit NRT Oy

05:00 - 8 September, 2015
© Antti Luutonen
© Antti Luutonen
  • Architects

  • Location

    Purjeentekijänkuja 1, 00210 Helsinki, Finland
  • Architect in Charge

    Jyrki Tasa, Pirjo Soininen, Eeva-Liisa Elo-Lehtinen, Sami Vikström
  • Area

    33000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs

    Antti Luutonen

© Antti Luutonen © Antti Luutonen © Antti Luutonen © Antti Luutonen +12

5 Projects Shortlisted for the 2015 Finlandia Prize

06:00 - 4 September, 2015
OP HEADQUARTERS / JKMM Architects. Image © Mika Huisman
OP HEADQUARTERS / JKMM Architects. Image © Mika Huisman

The Finnish Association of Architects SAFA has announced the five projects shortlisted for the 2015 Finlandia Prize for Architecture. After hosting the competition successfully for the first time last year, the Association has returned to “increase public awareness of high quality Finnish architecture and [to highlight] its benefits for our well-being.”

Similarly to last year, while the five shortlisted projects were selected by a jury of architects, the final winning design will be chosen by a non-architect. This year Kaija Saariaho, an internationally renowned Finnish composer, will select the 2015 winner. “I’ve always taken a keen interest in architecture and of course concert halls," said Saariaho. "When visiting the buildings now proposed for the prize, I gave much thought to how deeply architecture affects our lives on a daily basis."

Learn more about the five shortlisted projects, after the break.

Viikinmäki Quarter House / AFKS

13:00 - 7 August, 2015
© Mika Huisman
© Mika Huisman
  • Architects

  • Location

    Harjannetie 36, 00710 Helsinki, Finland
  • Architect in Charge

    Jari Frondelius, Jaakko Keppo, Juha Salmenperä architects SAFA
  • Area

    3600.0 sqm
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs

    Mika Huisman

© Mika Huisman © Mika Huisman © Mika Huisman © Mika Huisman +28

Alvar Aalto Foundation Launches Competition to Form Museum Center in Jyväskylä

16:11 - 29 June, 2015
© Alvar Aalto Foundation
© Alvar Aalto Foundation

The Alvar Aalto Foundation and the City of Jyväskylä has launched an open international competition in search of an architect to design an extension that would connect the Alvar Aalto Museum with the Museum of Central Finland, and the surrounding outdoor area. The aim is to connect these two key Aalto works to form an attractive, high-quality museum center. 

“On the initiative of the Alvar Aalto Foundation we set about taking the matter forwards, our hope being to hold an international design competition. It is wonderful to be involved, via the competition, in linking the museum buildings together, something that Alvar Aalto had originally intended,” says Director of the Alvar Aalto Foundation Tommi Lindh. Read on to learn more. 

Video: Gösta Serlachius Museum / MX_SI

12:30 - 26 June, 2015

Architectural photographer Pedro Pegenaute has shared with us a video through MX-SI's Serlachius Museum Gösta in Mänttä, Finland. An expansion of the existing Joennimei manor, the new building was built to host contemporary art traveling exhibitions and accommodate the museum's growing collections. MX-SI was also commissioned to design a new bridge that connects the museum to the island of Taavetinsaari. You can see them both in the film above.

Moreau Kusunoki's 'Art in the City' Proposal Wins Guggenheim Helsinki Competition

05:25 - 23 June, 2015
Winning proposal. Image © Moreau Kusunoki Architectes / Guggenheim
Winning proposal. Image © Moreau Kusunoki Architectes / Guggenheim

Moreau Kusunoki, based in Paris, have been announced as the winners of the Guggenheim Helsinki competition following a year of shortlisting, refining and deliberation. Their proposal—entitled Art in the City—"sums up the qualities the jury admired in the design" noted Mark Wigley, chair of the jury. He continued: "the waterfront, park, and nearby urban area all have a dialogue with the loose cluster of pavilions, with people and activities flowing between them. The design is imbued with a sense of community and animation that matches the ambitions of the brief to honor both the people of Finland and the creation of a more responsive museum of the future."

The announcement was made this morning in Helsinki by Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. Also present was Professor Mark Wigley, chair of the jury and Dean Emeritus of Columbia GSAPP, Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki, Ari Lahti, chairman of the Guggenheim Helsinki Supporting Foundation, and the architect team.

Winning proposal. Image © Moreau Kusunoki Architectes / Guggenheim Winning proposal. Image © Moreau Kusunoki Architectes / Guggenheim Winning proposal. Image © Moreau Kusunoki Architectes / Guggenheim Winning proposal. Image © Moreau Kusunoki Architectes / Guggenheim +16