A professor of economics, Sixten Korkman has chosen Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects' Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw as the winner of the inaugural Finlandia Prize for Architecture. The unconventional award, whose intent is to “increase public awareness of high quality Finnish architecture and highlights its benefits for our well-being,” enlisted a group of renowned architects to shortlist the finalists before “layman” Korkman selected the winner as an unbiased representative of the public who valued the building for the way it made him “feel.”
“The idea behind the prize undoubtedly resonates with me. In economics one talks about public goods and externalities, and the built environment is precisely these," stated Korkman after announcing his decision.
"Whether the buildings are in private or public ownership is of no significance. We all see the architecture, experience the architecture, and architecture affects us all. Architecture undoubtedly affects our well-being and comfort: our built environment is our extended living room. In architecture there is also an egalitarian element. Fortunately the sun still shines for both poor and rich. Our built environment exists for us all.”
More about the winning building, after the break.
Lahdelma & Mahlamäki's Polish museum was awarded over MX_SI’s Gösta’s Pavilion, the Helsinki Kaisa House by Anttinen Oiva and JKMM Architects’ Seinäjoki Public Library. It is located in the heart of Jewish Warsaw, an area the Nazis turned into a ghetto during the Second World War.
“The visit to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews turned out to be particularly important,” described Korkman. “It is ostensibly a box, the appearance of which is not particularly intriguing. But the building is in some way ethereal, like a projection. The building’s glass cladding is very unique: a phenomenon is created that in my opinion is not fully captured by a photograph. The entire building can also look different depending on whether it’s morning or evening. The museum’s entrance leaves a lasting impression; it is enormous and complex in many ways No camera exists that could capture that.”
According to the pre-selection jury, the building is a “Song of Songs of Finnish excellence: the museum conveys a universal experience, regardless of ethnicity or creed.” You can learn more about the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, here on ArchDaily.
2014 Pre-selection Jury:
- Jorma Mukala, architect, and editor-in-chief of the Finnish Architectural Review (chairman)
- Juulia Kauste, director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture
- Esa Ruskeepää, architect
- Pentti Kareojam, professor of Spatial Design at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture
- Paula Huotelin, SAFA secretary general (secretary)
A complete interview about the award and Finnish architecture with Korkman, here.