The Finnish office OOPEAA made it to the 2017 edition of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture with three projects. The 40-project shortlist selected from the 356 nominees will be published on Jan. 30, and the winner of the biannual award will be announced in April.
The three nominated projects by architect Anssi Lassila’s office OOPEAA – Office for Peripheral Architecture are Suvela Chapel and multi-functional community centre in Espoo, the wooden high-rise Puukuokka Housing Block in Jyväskylä and the lakeside observation tower Periscope in Seinäjoki. Only Rem Koolhaas’ OMA – Office for Metropolitan Architecture got as many nominations. The future looks bright viewing from Europe’s northern edge, with the periphery being as well represented in the European architecture scene as metropolises.
The Finnish capital city Helsinki received three nominations: OP Financial Group headquarters and workplace for 3,300 people by JKMM Architects, the widely published Löyly public sauna and restaurant by Avanto Architects and Kotisaarenkatu housing block in Arabianranta by Playa Architects. Esa Ruskeepää’s Opinmäki School in Espoo is a learning environment for thousand pupils, whereas Kangasala Arts Centre by Heikkinen–Komonen Architects is a symbol of sovereignty and cultural prowess for a small municipality. The private seaside summerhouse in a remote and untouched archipelago setting by Anttinen–Oiva Architects was just recently completed. Selina Anttinen, the architect in charge, comments the international attention their design has now received: “The nomination was a nice surprise, and it is an honour to be included in such a top-notch selection.”
In addition to the projects located in Finland, the Finnish architects Kari Järvinen and Merja Nieminen were nominated for their fine restoration and renovation design for St. Paul’s Church of Tartu in Estonia. The 100-year-old church was originally designed by the Finnish master architect Eliel Saarinen. The project may be found on the Estonian nomination list. Finnish architect Kai Wartiainen’s Stocholm-based office a+d Reppen Wartiainen has a nomination on the Swedish list, Katcha Apartments in Norrköping.
The countries that received most nominations were France and Spain, 28 each. Candidates for the award are put forward by a broad group of independent experts from all over Europe, as well as each country’s architects’ associations and the Advisory Committee. Finland’s nominators, in addition to the Finnish Association of Architects SAFA, were Jorma Mukala, Editor-in-Chief of Arkkitehti, and Tommi Lindh, Director of Alvar Aalto Foundation.
The seven-strong jury, chaired by the London and Zurich based architect, Professor Stephen Bates, shortlists 40 projects of which they select two winners: one that receives the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture in recognition of its conceptual, technical and constructional qualities, and the other that receives the Emerging Architect Special Mention. One of the objectives of the award is, indeed, to support young architects as they set off on their careers. Finland is represented in the jury by Juulia Kauste, Director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture. The award was established in 1987 and the first winner was Álvaro Siza Vieira. This year the winner receives 60,000 euros and the emerging architect 20,000 euros. According to the rules of the award, all nominated projects must be designed by European architects and implemented within the European Union.