SAFA
  • Roihuvuori School

  • Aalto University Harald Herlin Learning Centre

  • Helsinki City Theatre

  • St Paul’s Church and parish hall

Roihuvuori School

The school, designed by Architect-Professor Aarno Ruusuvuori (1925–1992), was completed in 1967. An outwardly simple, rectangular building with a gentle access ramp at one end, the school is reminiscent of an industrial building, but its interior spaces are finely allocated using natural light. One of the hardest tasks in renovations is to devise an air-conditioning system consistent with present-day requirements. In Roihuvuori, the solution was to build two longitudinal service tunnels to serve as ventilation ducting and sacrifice one room in the middle of the building to provide a machine room for the AC system. As a result of these innovative solutions, the original spatial structure could be successfully preserved.

Photos: Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy


  • Architectural design: Jeskanen–Repo–Teränne Architects
  • Client: City of Helsinki
  • Main contractor: Rakennus Oy Antti J. Ahola
  • Location: Helsinki
  • Programme: 3 803 m2
  • Year of completion: 2016

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

The school, designed by Architect-Professor Aarno Ruusuvuori (1925–1992), was completed in 1967. The Helsinki City Department of Education had already decided to pull down the building because it was in bad repair and considered outdated in terms of teaching facilities, when in 2013 the Helsinki City Council passed a resolution to renovate it. Of all the schools built in Helsinki in the 1960s, the Roihuvuori School had been classified as the most architecturally significant by the Helsinki City Museum and the City Planning Department. The renovation was completed in 2016.

An outwardly simple, rectangular building with a gentle access ramp at one end, the school is reminiscent of an industrial building, but its interior spaces are finely allocated using natural light. The teaching areas are bathed in light: the windows with a glass block base extend from floor to ceiling.

Corridors are naturally illuminated by means of windows placed at the top of partitions, and the building frame offers long unobstructed views. The exposed concrete roof beams visible in almost all parts of the interior suggest a reference to classic architecture. The Roihuvuori School is regarded as a prime example of Finnish 1960s constructivism, which sought to underline the significance of structure.

One of the hardest tasks in renovations is to devise an air-conditioning system consistent with present-day requirements. In Roihuvuori, the solution was to build two longitudinal service tunnels to serve as ventilation ducting and sacrifice one room in the middle of the building equivalent in size to the canteen to provide a machine room for the AC system. In the classrooms, the lowered ceilings have been placed below the line of the top windows in the corridors. As a result of these innovative solutions, the original spatial structure could be successfully preserved.

Aalto University Harald Herlin Learning Centre

The Otaniemi campus library was completed in 1970 to complement the complex designed by Alvar Aalto. The plans, completed in 2016, were prepared by architects Teemu Tuomi and Tuomo Remes. The exterior was left intact just like the library halls with their fixtures and details. A new learning centre open to the public was built on the floors originally reserved for a book depository. Its architectural solutions and modern interiors designed by interior architect Päivi Meuronen add a fresh contemporary touch to the familiar surroundings.

Photos: Tuomas Uusheimo


  • Architectural design: NRT Architects
  • Client: Aalto University Campus & Real Estate
  • Main contractor: NCC
  • Location: Otaniemi, Espoo
  • Programme: 8 320 m2
  • Year of completion: 2015

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

The Otaniemi campus library was completed in 1970 to complement the complex designed by Alvar Aalto whose architectural core consists of a scenic space flanked by red brick buildings. The flowing spaces of the library interior with its rich details beautifully illuminated from above represent easily recognisable Aalto architecture.

With the establishment of Aalto University, steps were taken to develop the campus buildings with a view to future uses. The library building has been renovated and renamed Harald Herlin Learning Centre. The plans, completed in 2016, were prepared by architects Teemu Tuomi and Tuomo Remes. The exterior was left intact just like the library halls with their fixtures and details. The functional changes necessitated by advanced library services have been carried out with due regard to the original concept while retaining the option to revert to the original design. A new learning centre open to the public was built on the floors originally reserved for a book depository. Its architectural solutions with bare, partly dismantled frame structures and modern interiors designed by interior architect Päivi Meuronen add a fresh contemporary touch to the familiar surroundings.

Helsinki City Theatre

The Helsinki City Theatre was completed in 1967 when Finland celebrated its 50th anniversary as an independent state and nation. The work of LPR architects is characterised by technical skill and a discreet approach to renewal that is respectful of the original edifice and makes use of contemporary techniques. All these aspects are beautifully rendered in the renovated Helsinki City Theatre in which the essence of Timo Penttilä’s architecture has been successfully preserved and partly restored to its original form.

Photos: Arno de la Chapelle


  • Architectural design: LPR Architects
  • Client: Helsinki Theatre Foundation
  • Main contractor: SRV
  • Location: Helsinki
  • Programme: 27 300 m2
  • Year of completion: 2017

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

The Helsinki City Theatre was completed in 1967 when Finland celebrated its 50th anniversary as an independent state and nation. In Finland, the 1960s was a decade of evolving modern architecture when the country was undergoing intense industrialisation and adopting architecture that applied the ideas of industrial production and rational efficiency to construction.

The City Theatre is a large public building that boldly, yet discreetly, assumes its dominant position in the middle of a park. The foyers link the edifice to its surroundings, making the building part of the park and the park part of the building. Clean, broad lines, a masterful deployment of building masses, thought-out use of materials and meticulous reconciliation with the terrain create the impression that the entire complex continues to be dominated by the park.

In honour of the 50th anniversary of the City Theatre, the building – including the extension known as Studio Elsa built in the 1980s – has now been completely renovated. LPR Arkkitehdit Oy, which designed the renovation project, is one of Finland’s most experienced firms of architects with an impressive track record specialising in renovation and restoration. Their work is characterised by technical skill and a discreet approach to renewal that is respectful of the original edifice and makes use of contemporary techniques. All these aspects are beautifully rendered in the renovated Helsinki City Theatre in which the essence of Timo Penttilä’s architecture has been successfully preserved and partly restored to its original form despite the massive amounts of new technology incorporated into the building.

St Paul’s Church and parish hall

St Paul’s Church of Tartu, designed by architect Eliel Saarinen, was inaugurated in 1917, and is considered one of his seminal works. The restoration project, completed in 2015, was designed by architects Merja Nieminen and Kari Järvinen. The building’s architectural values have been successfully cleansed and clarified. A new crypt and columbarium were built in the basement and a memorial grove in the yard delineated by the lanterns of the columbarium. The relationship between new and old building sections is balanced and harmonious.

Photos: Jari Jetsonen, Toomas Tuul, Merja Nieminen


  • Architectural design: Merja Nieminen & Kari Järvinen Architects
  • Client: Sihtasutus Tartu Pauluse Kirik
  • Main contractor: Nordecon OÜ
  • Location: Tartu
  • Programme: 6 198 m2
  • Year of completion: 2015

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

St Paul’s Church of Tartu, designed by architect Eliel Saarinen, was inaugurated in 1917. The interior was finished in 1919. Stylistically, the building represents Saarinen’s progress from art nouveau to classicism and is considered one of his seminal works. Its history is fraught with drama. It was destroyed by fine during the Second World War, and in the Soviet era, the building even served as a warehouse and flea market.

The restoration project, completed in 2015, was designed by architects Merja Nieminen and Kari Järvinen. The restoration plan is based on the winning entry to the invitational competition held in 2006. The building’s architectural values have been successfully cleansed and clarified. The execution is based on a thorough perusal of archives and resulting solutions that make skilful use of modern construction technology. A new crypt and columbarium were built in the basement and a memorial grove in the yard delineated by the lanterns of the columbarium. The relationship between new and old building sections is balanced and harmonious. The fruits of cooperation with various artists complete the whole, providing an emotive architectural experience.