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.”
"I chose a building that intuitively appeals to me and reflects the values I appreciate in life and the goals I have set for myself in my work," said Saariaho. "The chance to visit the home of a resident and to hear her share her thoughts and experience about how comfortable the apartment is to live in, and about the superior qualities of the sound isolation in the wooden building, further convinced me. I could sense the intimate warmth of the building right upon entering. The views into the surrounding landscape that open up in different directions in the spacious hallway are impressive. Puukuokka is a building that I felt most comfortable in with all my senses."
Completed in 2014 in the Jyväskylä suburb of Kuokkala, Puukuokka serves as an example of how modular prefabricated CLT construction can be used to build high quality, sustainable, and affordable housing. It is composed of prefabricated volumetric modules made of cross-laminated timber (CLT) developed by Stora Enso.