SAFA
  • Suvela Chapel

  • Rovaniemi Sports Arena RAILO

  • Löyly

  • Lappeenranta City Theatre

Suvela Chapel

The new Suvela Chapel creates a natural highpoint within its surroundings. The outward shape of the building is varied beneath a folded roof line, presenting an interesting silhouette from each new vantage point. The building also houses some facilities serving the residents’ park, making it a natural meeting point for people of all ages. The copper-clad chapel extends from the ground over the roof and belfry, resulting in a coherent, sculptural impression. The interior of the main hall is powerful in its simplicity.


  • Architectural design: OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture
  • Client: Evangelical Lutheran Parishes of Espoo
  • Main contractor: YIT Rakennus Oy
  • Location: Espoo
  • Programme: 2 150 m2 m2
  • Year of completion: 2016

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

The new Suvela Chapel creates a natural highpoint within its surroundings. The building forms clear delineation for traffic routes around it and the yard area it encloses. With its copper facade, the building wraps around a courtyard which is intimate and inviting in scale. The outward shape of the building is varied beneath a folded roof line, presenting an interesting silhouette from each new vantage point. The copper cladding extends from the ground over the roof and belfry, resulting in a coherent, sculptural impression.

The courtyard provides a tranquil space before entering the building. The lobby spaces afford views through the delicate silkscreened glass wall towards the sacral spaces. The interior of the main hall is powerful in its simplicity. The direct top light is complemented by backlight flooding through a strip of windows, coloured and textured by a glasswork by Hannu Konola, entitled I am alive. The walls and the ceiling are lined with vibrantly profiled wood panels.

The building also houses some facilities serving the residents’ park, making it a natural meeting point for people of all ages. The spaces open towards a courtyard, which successfully creates visual cohesion for the complex. The material palette in the interior is subdued throughout, while giving each space individual and identifiable character.

The new Suvela Chapel is the latest in the body of work by OOPEAA’s Anssi Lassila on sacral buildings. The Kärsämäki Shingle Church (2004), Klaukkala Church (2004) and Kuokkala Church (2004), and now Suvela Chapel, all share certain family resemblances but are ultimately each a unique work of architecture. What these churches have in common is a strong sense of material and the skill of the architect to create spaces that are innately sacral.

Rovaniemi Sports Arena RAILO

An architectural competition was held in 2012 for the new spectator stand and multi-purpose building, won by APRT with its entry Railo. Once fully completed, the design will incorporate the new sculptural stand and boulder-shaped residential and official buildings with a crevasse-like roadway winding between them. The stand has a very different look depending on the direction from which it is viewed. The best view of the spectator stand is from a distance: a large-scale, statuesque sports arena.


  • Architectural design: Arkkitehtityöhuone Artto Palo Rossi Tikka Architects (APRT)
  • Client: Rovaseudun Markkinakiinteistöt Oy / City of Rovaniemi
  • Main contractor: Levi-Rakennus Oy
  • Location: Rovaniemi
  • Programme: 956 m2, audience stands 1300 m2 m2
  • Year of completion: 2015

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

The Rovaniemi Sports Arena is the home ground for RoPS football club. It is located within the so-called “Reindeer Antler” town plan designed by Alvar Aalto, near the town centre of Rovaniemi. An architectural competition was held in 2012 for the new spectator stand and multi-purpose building, won by APRT with its entry Railo. Once fully completed, the design will incorporate the new sculptural stand and boulder-shaped residential and official buildings with a crevasse-like roadway winding between them. The edifice including the stand and the spaces underneath, which were completed in 2015, have already become a landmark in the city.

The stand has a very different look depending on the direction from which it is viewed. When seen directly from the front, from the other side of the pitch, the structure looks like a lean and lightweight canopy supported by columns, sheltering 2,000 seats. The colour scheme of the seats follows the colours of RoPS and the shape formed by the graded line of the seats in the upper stand is reminiscent of Lapland fells. Viewed from the side, the stand presents itself as an imposing structure dominated by the flat plywood-clad columns. The long facade facing the street appears to form a series of zigzagging columns. The stand’s frame is made of steel and the auxiliary spaces underneath the stand as well as the staggered levels are built from concrete. The timber frame used in the competition design was eventually replaced by a steel grid enabling the building of a deep canopy without the need for support columns interfering with the view.

The best view of the spectator stand is from a distance: a large-scale, statuesque sports arena. Arranging an architectural competition for the spectator stand and the outcome of the competition were an architectural feat for the City of Rovaniemi, from which local football fans as well as anyone appreciating great architecture will benefit. Rovaniemi is well known for its many buildings designed by Alvar Aalto. The new sports arena and multipurpose building add a contemporary edge to the city’s high-quality architecture.

Löyly

One of Helsinki’s special features is its location by a wide open sea. Yet few buildings in Helsinki make use of this quality as fully as Löyly, completed in 2016 in Helsinki’s Hernesaari district. The building is a mound clad in wooden lamellas that beautifully reflect the light thanks to their triangular profile. The surface will acquire grey patina overtime, so that, from a distance, it will look like one of the bare granite rocks emblematic of the coastline and many Helsinki parks.


  • Architectural design: Avanto Architects
  • Client: Hernesaaren Löyly Oy
  • Main contractor: Puupalvelu Jari Rajala and Rakennustoimisto Jussit Oy
  • Location: Hernesaari, Helsinki
  • Programme: 1 071 m2, outdoor terrace: approx. 1 800 m2 m2
  • Year of completion: 2016

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

One of Helsinki’s special features is its location by a wide open sea. Yet few buildings in Helsinki make use of this quality as fully as Löyly, completed in 2016 in Helsinki’s Hernesaari district. The building is located between housing blocks and the water’s edge, on a strip of parkland running the length of the Helsinki peninsula coastline and partly overhanging the sea. This led the designers to contemplate a solution that would be closer to landscape sculpture than a house – a concept that has been executed with outstanding success.

The building is a mound clad in wooden lamellas that beautifully reflect the light thanks to their triangular profile. The slats provide discrete privacy to those using the saunas while allowing a sea view from inside. The horizon is visible from almost all indoor spaces and the views can also be taken in from the staggered lookout decks on the roof.

The wood material used in the exterior cladding is a Finnish innovation: densely pressed and glued, it is destined to withstand the rough sea weather better than ordinary planks. The surface will acquire grey patina overtime, so that, from a distance, it will look like one of the bare granite rocks emblematic of the coastline and many Helsinki parks.

The indoor spaces are organised within a rectangle, with the more freeform “hem” of the envelope creating secluded nooks outside for cooling off after a sauna. The restaurant is simultaneously spacious and intimate.
There are three saunas, one of which – the traditional smoke sauna – is accessed from the outside. The fact that the sauna is, for fire safety reasons, built inside a concrete bunker is completely inconspicuous when lingering in the long-lasting sweetly scented steam of the smoke sauna.

The location of the sauna complex was originally decided upon with the quays where cruise ships moor during the summer in mind. The building has since become an important landmark for Helsinki residents and visitors alike. It epitomises one of the crucial roles of architecture: to modify the environment in a way that provides enjoyment.

Lappeenranta City Theatre

The new Lappeenranta City Theatre is housed, unusually for a theatre, within a new extension of a city centre shopping mall. The new theatre is an interesting example of a cultural institution’s mission to reach out to wider audiences by placing itself in the midst of people’s everyday environment. The public spaces are furnished with monochrome dark and metallic surfaces providing a convincing contrast to the abundance of colour and information stimuli of the shopping mall.


  • Architectural design: ALA Architects
  • Client: City of Lappeenranta and Lappeenrannan Teatterikiinteistö Oy
  • Main contractor: Evälahti Oy / Skanska Talonrakennus Oy
  • Location: Lappeenranta
  • Programme: 5 298 m2 m2
  • Year of completion: 2015

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

The new Lappeenranta City Theatre is housed, unusually for a theatre, within a new extension of a city centre shopping mall. Designed by ALA Architects, the new theatre is an interesting example of a cultural institution’s mission to reach out to wider audiences by placing itself in the midst of people’s everyday environment. The concept in which a large public building is housed within a commercial building ultimately creates an intriguing setting for a new type of theatre building to emerge.

The building has no dramatic elevation to emphasise its role in the cityscape, as it is fully integrated with the top floors of the shopping mall. The foyer of the theatre opens up towards the high central hall of the mall, forming a part of its colourful interior landscape. The public spaces are furnished with monochrome dark and metallic surfaces providing a convincing contrast to the abundance of colour and information stimuli of the shopping mall. The theatre is part of the everyday buzz of the mall, and yet its elegant simplicity raises the ambiance above and beyond the ordinary.

The designers had a unique opportunity to create a theatre building based purely on functional requirements, without the pressure of producing an iconic building. Built on one level, the theatre centres around a tight group of large hall spaces. This core is surrounded by a single U-shaped white corridor linking together the different functions. This makes for a clearly outlined and highly practical theatre, a building type that is usually almost mystical in its complexity. All necessary elements are grouped around the main event: the performance. The compact design is also felt in the intimate relationship between the audience and main stage. What is more, the acoustics of the space are superb.

The building emanates the designers’ wide experience in designing performance spaces, exceptional in the Finnish context. The theatre is a sum of the efforts of a large and diverse group of people. The architects’ commitment to the art of theatre and theatre-goers’ needs has served as a solid foundation for offering a completely new take on a state-of-the-art theatre.