Helsinki Announces Competition for City Centre High Rises

The Pasila district has been marked for development for some time. Above, a model of the area masterplan from 2006. Image © Flickr CC User Darren Webb

The city of Helsinki has announced plans for a design and build competition for a new commercial and residential district in Pasila, near the city centre. The competition, which calls for 8-10 buildings of 15 stories or more, will be part of the city’s drive to make Pasila the “second centre of ,” with a total of 150,000-200,000 square metres of residential and office space planned for the district. Read on after the break to find out more about the competition.

Villa Krona / Helin & Co Architects

© Pekka Helin

Architects: Helin & Co Architects
Location: , 25710 ,
Architect In Charge: Pekka Helin, Ritva Mannersuo
Area: 152.0 sqm
Year: 2010
Photographs: Pekka Helin

Kuopio City Theatre / ALA Architects

© Tuomas Uusheimo

Architects: ALA Architects
Location: , Finland
Client: City of Kuopio
Area: 11500.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Tuomas Uusheimo

Can You Imagine a City Without Air Conditioners?

Helsinki is pioneering an underground cooling system that could cut 80% of carbon emissions compared to conventional air conditioning. Image © Flickr CC User Justin Swan

Despite Finland’s relatively cool temperatures, climate changes have made heat waves more common in Northern Europe, and the demand for cooling buildings in summer is increasing. Instead of installing air conditioners for individual buildings, Helsinki is pioneering a vast network of underground that pumps cold water from lakes and seas into local buildings. Beneath an unassuming park in downtown Helsinki sits a reservoir containing nearly 9 million gallons of water that is recycled and cooled by waste energy after it is used for cooling, replacing the need for air conditioning in the city and cutting carbon pollution by 80%. Read more about this undertaking in this article from Fast Co. Exist.

COBE and Lundén Win Competition to Design Transport Hub in Tampere

© Luxigon, courtesy of and Lundén Architecture

The Mayor of has announced Danish architects COBE and Finnish Lundén Architecture as winners of an international competition for the Tampere Travel and Service Centre. The winning scheme, “Reconnecting Tampere” will join two disparate districts in the heart of Finland’s second largest city and establish a “new urban living room” beneath an expansive steel canopy. 

”Tampere’s new Travel and Service Centre has not only the potential to become a gateway to Tampere and the rest of Finland, but also the potential of becoming a generator for the future development of the urban center of Tampere,” says Dan Stubbergaard, Founder and Creative Director of COBE. 

Villa Sarvilahti / K2S Architects

Courtesy of K2S Architects

Architects: K2S Architects
Location: 54500 ,
Architect In Charge: Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola, Mikko Summanen
Area: 326.0 sqm
Year: 2008
Photographs: Courtesy of K2S Architects

Villa Kallioniemi / K2S Architects

© Marko Huttunen

Architects: K2S Architects
Location: Lepäinen, ,
Area: 97.0 sqm
Year: 2009
Photographs: Marko Huttunen

New Images Take You Inside ALA’s Helsinki Central Library

Central Library. Image ©

Take a tour inside ALA Architect’s Helsinki Central Library with a new animation and set of images revealing the project’s spacious interiors. The project, which was awarded to ALA through an international competition, boasts a unique set of programs, such as a ground floor cinema, second story sauna, “Nerd Attic” and dreamy “Book Heaven” that is topped with a cloud-like undulating roof and includes a distinctive outdoor “Citizens’ Balcony.”

OfficeUS Propose Floating Museum for Guggenheim Helsinki Competition

Courtesy of © via cruises..org

When you visit the galleries of Guggenheim Helsinki, you may have to bring a life vest. This submission to the Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition floats the idea of a museum over water, traveling between the ports of St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Helsinki. Proposed as a hypothetical submission to the worldwide contest, the team at OfficeUS delve into the notion of transience in the new world of architourism. The brief reads: “As a global freeport, the museum develops a completely new infrastructure, offering the strategic tax benefits of freeport art storage while enabling exhibitions of some of the most important pieces of modern art and design.” Upcoming exhibits include (hypothetically) Olafur Elliasson, Yves Klein and Thomas Demand.

HILA Pavilion / Digiwoodlab Project + University Of Oulu Students

Courtesy of

Architects: Digiwoodlab Project,
Location: Kiikeli, Oulu, Finland
Year: 2014
Photographs: Courtesy of Digiwoodlab Project

Light Matters: Whiteness in Nordic Countries

Dybkær Church, Silkeborg, . Architecture: Regnbuen Arkitekter. Image © Henry Plummer 2010

The Scandinavian countries have developed great buildings that resonate with both the scarce light in winter and the long summer days. Henry Plummer, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has very carefully studied the various phenomena in the Nordic countries, with extensive photo journeys and brilliant writing that combines an analytical perspective with a poetic touch. His view of looks beyond the practical advantages of using reflective white spaces to facilitate bright rooms; the passionate photographer is much more interested in the light effects that play with the local beauty of nature and touch the human soul.

Read on for more about how Nordic light enters white spaces

House Riihi / OOPEAA

© Jussi Tiainen

Architects: OOPEAA
Location: 62900 , Finland
Architect In Charge: Anssi Lassila
Project Architect : Jussi-Pekka Vesala
Design Team: Iida Hedberg, Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä, Tommi Heinonen, Juha Pakkala
Area: 479.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Jussi Tiainen

Inside “Re-Creation” – Finland’s Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2014

Re-Creation. The Finnish Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale.. Image © Nico Saieh

Re-Creation is a two-part installation based on a concept by Anssi Lassila. One part of the installation was constructed by a Finnish master carpenter and his team, and the other by a Chinese team. Together the two parts of the installation strike up a subtle and complex dialogue between the architects and local builders.

Presented by the pavilion designed by Alvar Aalto in 1956, the installation “takes a stand on our relationship with the modern legacy and its tradition of international dialogue, and represents a quintessential product of topical international dialogue while at the same time offering its own unique interpretation of the dynamic between tradition and modernity.” See images of the pavilion and enjoy a statement from the curators after the break.

“Forms of Freedom: African Independence and Nordic Models” – The Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

From the Curators. The exhibition at the Nordic Pavilion has been titled FORMS OF FREEDOM: African Independence and Nordic Models. The exhibition explores and documents how modern Nordic architecture was an integral part of Nordic aid to East Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. The resulting architecture is of a scope and quality that has not previously been comprehensively studied or exhibited.

Dutch Students To Build Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia From Ice

Montage. Image Courtesy of

A team of students from Eindhoven University are to build a forty metre high model of Antonio Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia. The project, which follows the completion of the world’s biggest ice dome last year, will be constructed from pykrete and reinforced with wood fibres. Impressively, the 1:4 scale model will be built in only three weeks. Thin layers of water and snow will be sprayed onto large, inflated molds. The pykrete (water mixed with sawdust) will be immediately absorbed by the snow before freezing. According to the organisers, “the wood fiber content makes the material three times as strong as normal ice, and it’s also a lot tougher.” Find out more about the project here.

Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition

The Guggenheim Helsinki Design Competition, first open international competition organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, was officially launched today. Submission deadline for stage one is September 10. A jury that includes Mark Wigley, Jeanne Gang, Juan Herreros, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto will announce the shortlist during Fall 2014.

Following a detailed Concept and Development Study by the Guggenheim Foundation, the City of Helsinki has reserved a prominent waterfront site for the architectural competition of the proposed museum. The site is located in the Eteläsatama, or South Harbor area, an urban space of great national and cultural significance, close to the historic city center and immediately visible to visitors arriving by sea.

It is envisaged that the Guggenheim Helsinki would organize and present internationally significant exhibitions of artworks from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries while also specializing in Nordic art and architecture. Within the Guggenheim Foundation’s international constellation of museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and the future Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Guggenheim Helsinki would be distinctive in its active inclusion of design and architecture in its programming.

Malcolm Reading Consultants are running the design competition. All enquiries should be directed here. For complete information please visit the competition’s official website.

KCAP Wins Joint First Prize in Eteläpuisto Park Tampere Competition

Dock View. Image © KCAP Architects & Planner

KCAP Architects & Planners has recently won a shared first place title in the Eteläpuisto Park competition for the city of , Finland. The competition brief specified that entries were required to create an “urban residential area and provide for programs suitable for the city structure and for the landscape.” Recreational access to the nearby lake shore was required, as was enabling access to Tampere’s Hämeenpuisto Esplanade. KCAP’s residential park proposal was chosen unanimously by the competition jury from six total entries.

Kettukallio / Playa Architects

© Tuomas Uusheimo

Architects: Playa Architects
Location: 52550 , Finland
Area: 122.0 sqm
Year: 2009
Photographs: Tuomas Uusheimo