SAFA
  • OP Head Quarters

  • Merenkulkijanranta

  • Puukuokka

  • Kangasala Arts Centre

  • Opinmäki school complex

OP Head Quarters

OP Financial Group has concentrated many of its operations under one roof within a block along Teollisuuskatu street. The result is a clear-cut, light-filled and inspiring place to work.


  • Architectural design: JKMM Architects
  • Client: OP Financial Group
  • Main contractor: Haahtela-rakennuttaminen Oy
  • Location: Vallila, Helsinki, Finland
  • Programme: 131.100 brm2
  • Year of completion: 2015

Statement of the pre-selection jury

OKOBANK has brought its functions together in a single large block along Teollisuuskatu. The new construction complements the existing buildings on the block, which was wholly revitalised during the course of construction. (One further new building will later replace the office building currently occupying the south corner of the block.) The previously rambling entity is now denser and more unified. The design is based on JKMM’s winning entry in the design competition.

The revitalisation project fuses the old and new elements on the block into a single entity. This did not mean creating a visually unified appearance for the block, however: the old and new parts differ in design and the preserved historical layering enriches the cityscape. The eight-storey block lines and strengthens the broad space of Teollisuuskatu, a busy thoroughfare. It also serves as the outer limit of a densely built series of city blocks, beyond which the small-scale residential district of Vallila with its wooden detached houses begins.

The large building volume is pierced by triangular openings or ‘cracks’. These create an interaction between the inside and outside of the block, the main entrance being located at one of these ‘cracks’. The large triangular space also lends a unique appearance to the office building – its shape being repeated in the folds of the building masses.

At the centre of the block there is a high, well-lit space along which there are conference rooms, restaurants, cafés and wellbeing services (e.g. a gymnasium). Roofed with glass, the space forms a circular indoor street that runs around the entire block. The spatial arrangement is clear and makes the complex easy to navigate, like a mini-city. The office floors have a view of the central space, being laid out as modern open-plan offices, but with internal divisions that break up the industrial-hall appearance that such spaces often manifest. The design combines openness with flexibility and functionality. Parking, machinery, storage and maintenance facilities are located under the block on several levels.

Though large and complicated, the block is outlined in broad strokes, resulting in a clear, well-lit and inspiring workplace environment. The large-scale outline is wonderfully complemented by carefully considered and well executed details. Even many of the basic features – such as the glass ceiling of the central foyer and the metal wall panellings – are insightful and innovative. The design is precise and simple, and as such crystal-clear.

Statement of the pre-selection jury

OKOBANK has brought its functions together in a single large block along Teollisuuskatu. The new construction complements the existing buildings on the block, which was wholly revitalised during the course of construction. (One further new building will later replace the office building currently occupying the south corner of the block.) The previously rambling entity is now denser and more unified. The design is based on JKMM’s winning entry in the design competition.

The revitalisation project fuses the old and new elements on the block into a single entity. This did not mean creating a visually unified appearance for the block, however: the old and new parts differ in design and the preserved historical layering enriches the cityscape. The eight-storey block lines and strengthens the broad space of Teollisuuskatu, a busy thoroughfare. It also serves as the outer limit of a densely built series of city blocks, beyond which the small-scale residential district of Vallila with its wooden detached houses begins.

The large building volume is pierced by triangular openings or ‘cracks’. These create an interaction between the inside and outside of the block, the main entrance being located at one of these ‘cracks’. The large triangular space also lends a unique appearance to the office building – its shape being repeated in the folds of the building masses.

At the centre of the block there is a high, well-lit space along which there are conference rooms, restaurants, cafés and wellbeing services (e.g. a gymnasium). Roofed with glass, the space forms a circular indoor street that runs around the entire block. The spatial arrangement is clear and makes the complex easy to navigate, like a mini-city. The office floors have a view of the central space, being laid out as modern open-plan offices, but with internal divisions that break up the industrial-hall appearance that such spaces often manifest. The design combines openness with flexibility and functionality. Parking, machinery, storage and maintenance facilities are located under the block on several levels.

Though large and complicated, the block is outlined in broad strokes, resulting in a clear, well-lit and inspiring workplace environment. The large-scale outline is wonderfully complemented by carefully considered and well executed details. Even many of the basic features – such as the glass ceiling of the central foyer and the metal wall panellings – are insightful and innovative. The design is precise and simple, and as such crystal-clear.

Merenkulkijanranta

Merenkulkijanranta is a residential block in the district of Lauttasaari in Helsinki. It was completed in several stages based on an overarching design – the final building was completed in 2015. The apartment buildings fan out like fingers of a hand towards and over the sea.


  • Architectural design: NRT Architects
  • Client: YIT
  • Main contractor: YIT Rakennus Oy
  • City: Lauttasaari, Helsinki, Finland
  • Programme:  21.000 m2
  • Year of completion: 2008-2015

Statement of the pre-selection jury

The residential high-rise buildings at Merenkulkijanranta in the Lauttasaari district of Helsinki represent high-quality Finnish housing design. The block was built in several phases, the last building having been completed in 2015. The plot is on the sea shore, at the nexus of the natural and urban environments. The residential buildings on the block are like the fingers of a hand reaching out over the sea. Under the buildings runs a public footpath along the waterfront through a series of spaces, from shores in their natural state to built-up quaysides. This right of way interestingly blends the public with the private and endorses the traditional Finnish view that urban waterfronts are for common use.

Based on a competition entry, the plan excellently leverages the maritime landscape and mood. Extending the buildings over the water is a rare feature in Finland, allowing for exciting vistas from the apartments and courtyard right on the sea. The apartments are almost palpably close to the sea, with excellent views and natural light throughout the day. The large windows frame the dramatic landscape, and the spacious vistas within the apartments lend a sense of space contrasting with the very efficiently utilised floor area.

The selection of materials is simple: copper and white rendering. The copper, stained a deep brown, protects the walls with a southern exposure from sea winds, while the white elevations towards the north lend added light to the courtyards. The rear walls of the balconies are in wood and the railings in glass. Careful landscaping lends a green richness to the courtyards – even large trees have been retained. The parking facilities are hidden under the courtyard decks.

Merenkulkijanranta is only one of many successful projects in the long and distinguished career of Professor Jyrki Tasa, which has included public and apartment buildings, and private homes. He typically dedicates himself to each design task with a deliberate avoidance of conventional solutions. Merenkulkijanranta, like Tasa’s designs in general, combines playfulness, power and a sculpture-like appearance in an innovative way.

Statement of the pre-selection jury

The residential high-rise buildings at Merenkulkijanranta in the Lauttasaari district of Helsinki represent high-quality Finnish housing design. The block was built in several phases, the last building having been completed in 2015. The plot is on the sea shore, at the nexus of the natural and urban environments. The residential buildings on the block are like the fingers of a hand reaching out over the sea. Under the buildings runs a public footpath along the waterfront through a series of spaces, from shores in their natural state to built-up quaysides. This right of way interestingly blends the public with the private and endorses the traditional Finnish view that urban waterfronts are for common use.

Based on a competition entry, the plan excellently leverages the maritime landscape and mood. Extending the buildings over the water is a rare feature in Finland, allowing for exciting vistas from the apartments and courtyard right on the sea. The apartments are almost palpably close to the sea, with excellent views and natural light throughout the day. The large windows frame the dramatic landscape, and the spacious vistas within the apartments lend a sense of space contrasting with the very efficiently utilised floor area.

The selection of materials is simple: copper and white rendering. The copper, stained a deep brown, protects the walls with a southern exposure from sea winds, while the white elevations towards the north lend added light to the courtyards. The rear walls of the balconies are in wood and the railings in glass. Careful landscaping lends a green richness to the courtyards – even large trees have been retained. The parking facilities are hidden under the courtyard decks.

Merenkulkijanranta is only one of many successful projects in the long and distinguished career of Professor Jyrki Tasa, which has included public and apartment buildings, and private homes. He typically dedicates himself to each design task with a deliberate avoidance of conventional solutions. Merenkulkijanranta, like Tasa’s designs in general, combines playfulness, power and a sculpture-like appearance in an innovative way.

Puukuokka

Puukuokka block of flats was completed in 2014 in the suburb of Kuokkala in Jyväskylä. Situated behind the church, three timber-framed blocks of flats have been designed, the first to be completed is Puukuokka. The frame of the block is built from solid wood and wooden CLT panels.


 

  • Architectural design: OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture
  • Client: Lakea Oy
  • Main contractor: JVR-rakenne Oy
  • Location: Kuokkala, Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Programme: 18.650 m2
  • Year of completion: 2014

 

Statement of the pre-selection jury

Puukuokka advocates the use of wood in residential construction in a new and fresh way. The design of this eight-storey wood building forms a coherent whole while demonstrating that it is possible to create original and characteristic housing design using new production and manufacturing methods .

The slightly bent shape of the building and its broad pitched roof create an appearance of solidity in a positive way. Although large, the building fits naturally onto its site alongside a slope. The dark outer shell on the street side protects the elevated courtyard, creating an intimate and human space cradled by the high building mass. As a contrast to the dramatic streetside elevation, the courtyard elevation is in untreated spruce and punctuated by a series of protruding balconies. This contrast in moods works well and decisively designates the public and private sides of the building. While the overall design of the building is timeless in style, it also represents a new approach to housing design.

All the apartments are made up of prefabricated room elements assembled on site. Careful planning has resulted in interesting floor plans with most apartments dominated by a recessed balcony open to the room beyond through a wall wholly made of glass. The apartments are stacked into three, eight-storey towers, between which there is a well-lit foyer as high as the entire building. The decision to make this a semi-heated space allowed an exceptionally generous dimensioning. Cathedral-like in scale and ethereal in mood, the foyer offers a vista to the landscape beyond through all three elevations – a striking architectural feature at the very heart of this residential building.

Puukuokka shows how systematic, skilled and creative design can produce original housing construction of a high quality. It sets itself apart from the mainstream of current high-rise construction both architecturally and technologically, and demonstrates just how rich and varied in design housing construction can be in Finland.

Statement of the pre-selection jury

Puukuokka advocates the use of wood in residential construction in a new and fresh way. The design of this eight-storey wood building forms a coherent whole while demonstrating that it is possible to create original and characteristic housing design using new production and manufacturing methods .

The slightly bent shape of the building and its broad pitched roof create an appearance of solidity in a positive way. Although large, the building fits naturally onto its site alongside a slope. The dark outer shell on the street side protects the elevated courtyard, creating an intimate and human space cradled by the high building mass. As a contrast to the dramatic streetside elevation, the courtyard elevation is in untreated spruce and punctuated by a series of protruding balconies. This contrast in moods works well and decisively designates the public and private sides of the building. While the overall design of the building is timeless in style, it also represents a new approach to housing design.

All the apartments are made up of prefabricated room elements assembled on site. Careful planning has resulted in interesting floor plans with most apartments dominated by a recessed balcony open to the room beyond through a wall wholly made of glass. The apartments are stacked into three, eight-storey towers, between which there is a well-lit foyer as high as the entire building. The decision to make this a semi-heated space allowed an exceptionally generous dimensioning. Cathedral-like in scale and ethereal in mood, the foyer offers a vista to the landscape beyond through all three elevations – a striking architectural feature at the very heart of this residential building.

Puukuokka shows how systematic, skilled and creative design can produce original housing construction of a high quality. It sets itself apart from the mainstream of current high-rise construction both architecturally and technologically, and demonstrates just how rich and varied in design housing construction can be in Finland.

Kangasala Arts Centre

Kangasala Arts Centre, the latest cultural centre to be built in Finland, was inaugurated in January 2015. The main space in the building is the multipurpose auditorium for music, theatre, film and other performances. The other units in the centre house, for example, a space for changing exhibitions.


  • Architectural design: Heikkinen-Komonen  Architects
  • Client: Municipality of Kangasala
  • Main contractor: Hartela Oy
  • Location: Kangasala, Finland
  • Programme:  3.050 m2
  • Year of completion: 2015

Statement of the pre-selection jury

The townscape in the community centre of Kangasala is dominated by the old stone church and its handsome steeple. Kangasala House occupies the plot beside the church, adjacent to the library. In its immediate vicinity are the old municipal hall, the bus station, the municipal office building and several commercial and residential buildings. Kangasala House is a conspicuous public building that makes its presence known rather than remaining anonymous. It brings a new and much needed identity to this central block, yet without challenging the dominant status of the old church.

The cultural centre combines several functions innovatively, in true Finnish fashion. Its principal space is a multi-purpose auditorium that can accommodate music, theatre, film and other performances. There is an art gallery displaying works by sculptor Kimmo Pyykkö, rooms for changing exhibitions, and chambers for the municipal board and council. A corridor links the building to the library next door. The canyon-like foyers of the cultural centre with streaming staircases link (and separate) the functions grouped into separate entities. Carefully considered views of the outside surroundings interestingly punctuate the rhythm of the interior. The importance of the multi-purpose auditorium is emphasised with curtain-like metal mesh surfacing.

From the outside, Kangasala House is a monolithic, boulder-like shape. Its elevations are solid and in a single material – concrete treated with iron oxide – further enhancing the boulder-like impression. The huge, rust-coloured exterior conceals a variety of light-coloured foyers creating the aforementioned ‘canyons’, a striking and essential contrast.

Architects Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen have come a long way on the road to simplification. They have designed many kinds of buildings that demonstrate a respect for low-key minimalism and a concretist approach to materials. Kangasala House is no exception in this respect.

Statement of the pre-selection jury

The townscape in the community centre of Kangasala is dominated by the old stone church and its handsome steeple. Kangasala House occupies the plot beside the church, adjacent to the library. In its immediate vicinity are the old municipal hall, the bus station, the municipal office building and several commercial and residential buildings. Kangasala House is a conspicuous public building that makes its presence known rather than remaining anonymous. It brings a new and much needed identity to this central block, yet without challenging the dominant status of the old church.

The cultural centre combines several functions innovatively, in true Finnish fashion. Its principal space is a multi-purpose auditorium that can accommodate music, theatre, film and other performances. There is an art gallery displaying works by sculptor Kimmo Pyykkö, rooms for changing exhibitions, and chambers for the municipal board and council. A corridor links the building to the library next door. The canyon-like foyers of the cultural centre with streaming staircases link (and separate) the functions grouped into separate entities. Carefully considered views of the outside surroundings interestingly punctuate the rhythm of the interior. The importance of the multi-purpose auditorium is emphasised with curtain-like metal mesh surfacing.

From the outside, Kangasala House is a monolithic, boulder-like shape. Its elevations are solid and in a single material – concrete treated with iron oxide – further enhancing the boulder-like impression. The huge, rust-coloured exterior conceals a variety of light-coloured foyers creating the aforementioned ‘canyons’, a striking and essential contrast.

Architects Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen have come a long way on the road to simplification. They have designed many kinds of buildings that demonstrate a respect for low-key minimalism and a concretist approach to materials. Kangasala House is no exception in this respect.

Opinmäki school complex

Opinmäki school complex forms a central element for an Espoo residential area currently under rapid construction and expansion. Besides kindergarten, primary and junior secondary schools, the centre will house a library, sports hall, adult education centre and a youth centre. The building will be in active use outside school hours and serve all residents in the area.


  • Architectural design: Arkkitehtitoimisto Esa Ruskeepää Oy
  • Client: Espoo city
  • Main contractor: SRV Rakennus Oy
  • Location: Suurpelto, Espoo
  • Programme: 16.700 m2
  • Year of completion: 2015

Statement of the pre-selection jury

Opinmäki School in Espoo is the focal public building in a new residential development that is 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, which is bound by an expansive rural landscape and, as such, functions as an obvious common space in its midst.

The building consists of nine elements growing progressively larger towards the main entrance, the smallest element being the daycare centre and the two largest the upper-level comprehensive school and the sports hall. A spacious and spatially exciting foyer links the elements while also serving as a canteen. The foyer allows access to the auditorium and all other facilities and is thus the heart of the building. The staircase along the foyer guides internal traffic while forming a splendid dramatic focus in the space and for the building as a whole.

The design of the building consists of rectilinear elements of various sizes, designed as efficient units with functional and well-planned interiors. The classrooms are well-lit and spacious, and the glass walls towards the interior add to the sense of space. The basic elements are combined in any number of ways – there is no unified coordinate system underlying the overall design – which results in a playful and varied composition. The dynamic series of spaces thus created is offset by the tranquil, balanced design of the elevations. The principal materials, brick and concrete, also add a calmer note.

The design of the school follows the model of exploratory learning, where the entire building is a teaching medium. The spaces are arranged so that they allow for the combining of sciences, arts, communication and humanities in teaching. The building houses an international school in addition to the comprehensive school. Built on the basis of the entry that won the design competition, the school is the first independent project by an architect just starting his career.

Statement of the pre-selection jury

Opinmäki School in Espoo is the focal public building in a new residential development that is 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, which is bound by an expansive rural landscape and, as such, functions as an obvious common space in its midst.

The building consists of nine elements growing progressively larger towards the main entrance, the smallest element being the daycare centre and the two largest the upper-level comprehensive school and the sports hall. A spacious and spatially exciting foyer links the elements while also serving as a canteen. The foyer allows access to the auditorium and all other facilities and is thus the heart of the building. The staircase along the foyer guides internal traffic while forming a splendid dramatic focus in the space and for the building as a whole.

The design of the building consists of rectilinear elements of various sizes, designed as efficient units with functional and well-planned interiors. The classrooms are well-lit and spacious, and the glass walls towards the interior add to the sense of space. The basic elements are combined in any number of ways – there is no unified coordinate system underlying the overall design – which results in a playful and varied composition. The dynamic series of spaces thus created is offset by the tranquil, balanced design of the elevations. The principal materials, brick and concrete, also add a calmer note.

The design of the school follows the model of exploratory learning, where the entire building is a teaching medium. The spaces are arranged so that they allow for the combining of sciences, arts, communication and humanities in teaching. The building houses an international school in addition to the comprehensive school. Built on the basis of the entry that won the design competition, the school is the first independent project by an architect just starting his career.