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.
KANGASALA ARTS CENTRE; Kangasala, Finland / Heikkinen-Komonen Architects
Standing next to a stone church, Kangasala House nicely rounds off the town’s centre. In the view of the pre-selection jury, this cultural centre completed in 2015 is fresh and innovative in combining various functions: a multipurpose auditorium, art museum, and the chambers of the municipal council and board. Inside, this stately concrete edifice divides into well-lit meandering ’canyons’ created by the light-coloured lobby spaces. The building is designed by Heikkinen-Komonen Architects.
The Merenkulkijanranta block sits on a seafront plot at the intersection of nature and urbanity in Lauttasaari, Helsinki. Construction has been carried out in several stages since 2008, with the last building completed in 2015. According to the pre-selection jury, the buildings reach out over the sea like the fingers of a hand. Under the buildings runs a public footpath – underlining the Finnish tradition of reserving the shoreline for public use. The block is designed by Arkkitehdit NRT Oy.
OPINMÄKI SCHOOL COMPLEX; Suurpelto, Espoo / Arkkitehtitoimisto Esa Ruskeepää Oy
The Opinmäki School in Espoo is a central public building in Suurpelto, a new residential development still under construction. The building houses a daycare centre, an upper-level and lower-level comprehensive school, a library, a sports hall, a workers’ institute and youth services facilities. The building is in active use throughout the day and serves the entire population of the district. The large building is a defining element in the structure of the district set in an expansive rural landscape, creating a common public area accessible for all. Designed by Esa Ruskeepää Architects, the school was completed in 2015.
The OP House puts the finishing touch to a large urban block in the Vallila district, Helsinki. According to the pre-selection jury, the triangular openings or ‘cracks’ give a nice rhythm to the large volume of mass. At the centre of the block there is a high, well-lit space comprising conference rooms, restaurants, cafés and wellbeing services. The working environment is characterized by light and a sense of a unique experience. A diversity of historical layers adds a complementary touch to the complex. The house, completed in 2015, is designed by JKMM Architects.
Puukuokka, an eight-storied timber-framed residential building in Kuokkala, Jyväskylä, serves as a prime example of how to create original and individualistic housing design using new production and manufacturing techniques. The spacious stairwell offers a splendid view of the surrounding landscape creating a unique architectonic atmosphere in the heart of the building. The building was completed in 2014 and is designed by OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture.
The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Helsinki on September 23, 2015. Learn more about the projects here.
News and project descriptions via SAFA.