SAFA
  • Oodi Helsinki Central Library

  • Jyväskylä University Main Building Refurbishment

  • Kruunuvuorenranta Waste Transfer Terminal

  • Serpentine House Refurbishment

  • Vaaralanpuisto Day Care Centre

Oodi Helsinki Central Library

Oodi Library locates at Central Helsinki, Töölönlahti. The building is split across three levels, each with its own distinct architecture, atmosphere and purpose. The open plan lobby on the ground floor gives way to workshop spaces and studios on the first floor and to the more conventional library services on offer on the top floor, in a space that is permanently bathed in light.

Photos: Tuomas Uusheimo


  • Architectural design: ALA Architects / Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta, Samuli Woolston, Niklas Mahlberg, Jussi Vuori, Tuulikki Tanska, Nea Tuominen, Tom Stevens, Miguel Silva, Pauliina Rossi, Anna Juhola, Heikki Ruoho
  • Client: Helsingin kaupunki
  • Main contractor: YIT Rakennus Oy Helsinki
  • Location: Helsinki
  • Programme: 17 000 m2
  • Year of completion: 2018

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

When it opened to the public in 2018, Helsinki’s Oodi central library fundamentally changed our understanding of what a library can be. Oodi is the city’s new living room, offering everything from gaming rooms to a “book heaven”. The building is split across three levels, each with its own distinct architecture, atmosphere and purpose. The open plan lobby on the ground floor gives way to workshop spaces and studios on the first floor and to the more conventional library services on offer on the top floor, in a space that is permanently bathed in light.

The building’s functions and facilities engage in an organic interplay with its structure; the steel spine that spans the length of the site from the Sanomatalo building across to Töölönlahti Park and the spruce cladding the wraps around it like a ship’s prow. Oodi’s shape allows the building to blend seamlessly into the surrounding area and represents the finishing touch on this flagship public space in the Finnish capital.

Jyväskylä University Main Building Refurbishment

Jyväskylä University’s main building is one of the most significant examples of Alvar Aalto’s red brick period. A comprehensive restoration in 2013–2017 was carried out in close collaboration with the Alvar Aalto Foundation and Finland’s National Board of Antiquities. In the course of the project, the assembly hall ventilation system was upgraded, the roof and flooring were replaced and the windows refurbished.

Photos: Jyrki Iso-Aho, Jari Jetsonen


  • Architectural design: Arkkitehtitoimisto A-konsultit / Jyrki Iso-Aho, Päivi Vaheri, Milja Lindberg, Ida Lautanala
  • Client: Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy
  • Main contractor: SRV Keski-Suomi Oy
  • Location: Jyväskylä
  • Programme: 9 146 m2
  • Year of completion: 2017

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

Jyväskylä University’s main building is one of the most significant examples of Alvar Aalto’s red brick period. Built in 1955, it was originally used as a teacher training college. In addition to lecture halls, laboratory spaces and other teaching and research facilities, the building comprises administrative offices, staff meeting rooms, an assembly hall and café. The building forms part of the wider Seminaarinmäki conservation area.

A comprehensive restoration in 2013–2017 was carried out in close collaboration with the Alvar Aalto Foundation and Finland’s National Board of Antiquities. In the course of the project, the assembly hall ventilation system was upgraded, the roof and flooring were replaced and the windows refurbished. Internal walls added to the building in the intervening years were demolished to reinstate the original floor plan and a new focus was created for the library foyer and main library space by creating direct access to adjoining spaces. The design team were committed to retaining as many original structures, materials and items of furniture as possible. With regard to the flooring, this meant that each brick had to be individually lifted, numbered and cleaned before being relaid in their original slots, the floor structure beneath also having been replaced. All items of furniture by Alvar and Aino Aalto, Maija Heikinheimo and Ilmari Tapiovaara were restored. The results belie the scale and scope of the project, giving the impression that much of the building remains unchanged and in its original state.

Kruunuvuorenranta Waste Transfer Terminal

Built in 2017, the waste transfer terminal in Helsinki’s Kruunuvuorenranta district uses an underground network of pipes to collect household waste from the newly-built residential area nearby. The waste received at the terminal is then transferred into containers before being transported off-site for further processing.

Photos: Timo Kiukkola


  • Architectural design: B&M Architects Ltd / Jussi Murole, Timo Kiukkola, Nikolai Rautio, Teemu Seppänen
  • Client: Kruunuvuorenrannan Jätteen Putkikeräys Oy
  • Main contractor: Rakennuspartio Oy
  • Location: Helsinki
  • Programme: 770 m2
  • Year of completion: 2017

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

Built in 2017, the waste transfer terminal in Helsinki’s Kruunuvuorenranta district uses an underground network of pipes to collect household waste from the newly-built residential area nearby. The waste received at the terminal is then transferred into containers before being transported off-site for further processing. The building’s rough-hewn and irregular shape and green roofs allow it to blend effortlessly into the surrounding rock while making an exciting addition to the surrounding streetscape.

The cladding that envelops the building takes it cue from the multicoloured lichen that covers the towering rocks behind it. The three dimensional, geometric finish is reminiscent of origami and has been skilfully executed using concrete elements stained with a warm, rust-toned patina. The Kruunuvuorenranta waste transfer terminal ably demonstrates that technical structures and buildings also have the potential to make an important aesthetic contribution to their environment.

Serpentine House Refurbishment

Serpentine House in the Käpylä district of Helsinki dates back to 1951 and is one of the most notable designs by Finnish architect Yrjö Lindegren. Comprising two distinct residential buildings, it extends across a total length of 287 metres. The refurbishment of the south building was carried out in 2016–2018 and the approach chosen by the project team departed significantly from the more conventional techniques commonly used on similar projects.

Photos: Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy


  • Architectural design: Kati Salonen ja Mona Schalin Arkkitehdit Oy / Mona Schalin, Marica Schalin, Varvara Protassova, Kristina Karlsson ,
  • Client: Helsingin kaupungin asunnot Oy
  • Main contractor: YIT Suomi Oy
  • Location: Helsinki
  • Programme: 3988 m2
  • Year of completion: 2018

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

Serpentine House in the Käpylä district of Helsinki dates back to 1951 and is one of the most notable designs by Finnish architect Yrjö Lindegren. Comprising two distinct residential buildings, it extends across a total length of 287 metres. Despite the buildings’ angular shape, the design succeeds in avoiding a rigid and austere feel by setting the units that make up the buildings in a fan-like arrangement that creates a series of private and sheltered garden spaces for the residents. The complex, which curves its way along Mäkelänkatu, consists of a total of 189 rented properties owned by the City of Helsinki. Each of the properties has been designed as a distinct entity within the whole, providing residents with unique views of the surrounding area.
The refurbishment of the south building was carried out in 2016–2018 and the approach chosen by the project team departed significantly from the more conventional techniques commonly used on similar projects. The project comprised all bathrooms, kitchens and interior surfaces, as well as the building’s roof, external rendering, balconies, doors, windows, communal areas and HVAC systems. Despite the extensive scope, the works were carried out broadly in line with the building’s listed status. The majority of the windows were repaired, the kitchen fittings were refurbished and, significantly, the original natural ventilation system was retained. This energy efficient system will help to reduce maintenance costs and prevent indoor air quality problems in the future.
The developer and design team deserve praise for their ambitious and highly successful approach to conservation, while the staff at Helsinki City Museum and the city’s planning and building control departments should be recognised for their contribution to the project, including their expertise in allowing the original ventilation system to be retained.

Vaaralanpuisto Day Care Centre

Completed in 2017, Vaaralanpuisto is a “big small” building that creates a quiet and sheltered setting for children attending day care there.

Photos: Mika Huisman


  • Architectural design: AFKS Architects / Jari Frondelius, Jaakko Keppo, Juha Salmenperä, Jalo Sippola ja Maija Viljanen
  • Client: Vantaan kaupungin tilakeskus
  • Main contractor: Rakennus Future Oy
  • Location: Vantaa
  • Programme: 1503 m2
  • Year of completion: 2017

STATEMENT OF THE PRE-SELECTION JURY

Completed in 2017, Vaaralanpuisto is a “big small” building that creates a quiet and sheltered setting for children attending day care there. AFKS Architects (Jari Frondelius, Jaakko Keppo, Juha Salmenperä, Jalo Sippola and Maija Viljanen) have created a design that, both in terms of its mass and materials, complements the size and scope of the site, which comprises two distinct outdoor areas. Tree preservation orders were placed on the mature trees found on the site to protect them during construction, and their presence now creates a sense that the building has stood there for many decades already. The warm tones, the generous use of wood and the undulating shape of the structure all invite playful engagement, or climbing even. One of the aims for the design was to create an energy-efficient day care facility that was as close to the zero-energy standard as possible.
The horizontally and vertically undulating shapes that ripple across the interiors reflect the exterior aesthetic. The learning areas are open plan, but more secluded spaces for small group activities have been created in areas where the building’s spatial flow naturally allows for a greater degree of calm and quiet, both visually and in terms of sound. The building’s main hall can flexibly transform from a functional yet cosy canteen to a formal event space with open view of the parkland outside. Staff praise the building’s aesthetic and haptic diversity and richness: “The designers have obviously worked hard to create a high-quality environment for the children and clearly recognise and respect their inherent appreciation for aesthetics. In fact, the building as a whole acts as an important lesson on what our built environment is all about, for users of all ages.”