A wooden, sharp-angled and geometric three-storey house is visible in the middle of a coniferous forest. Warm light glows from the big windows.
House MK5 (2018) by Ortraum in Laajasalo, Helsinki. photo: Marc Goodwin

Finnish Architecture Biennial Review 2020 reflects architecture as a generator of wellbeing and stability

The biennial exhibition presents a selection of recent projects showcasing new trends and high standards of excellence in Finnish architecture. This year the review comprises 15 building projects that represent creative and high-quality architecture.

Since 2002, the Biennial Review has presented top achievements in contemporary Finnish architecture in the form of an exhibition organised every two years. The featured selection looks at a cross-section of various project-types, ranging in size from small-scale structures to extensive housing developments and prominent public buildings. 

For each review, an expert jury is appointed to select the projects to be presented. Thus, each review is a joint statement of its jury members. The jury’s work is based on proposals submitted by architects and architecture enthusiasts, but the jury can also select other projects.

This year, the jury consists of PhD., architect Martin Braathen from the National Museum of Norway (Nasjonaalmuseet), D.Sc. (Tech), architect Harri Hautajärvi, and architect Kirsi Korhonen.

According to the jury, their selection of fifteen projects emphasises comprehensive quality-related aspects. At their best, the projects combine high-quality and creative architecture, a measured relationship with the environment, functionality, as well as ecologically sustainable building criteria. 

“We find that the fifteen projects included here – and not forgetting, we had to exclude many good projects from the selection – represent the best Finnish architecture of the time. This sample is, for its part, a proof of the wellbeing and stable state of Finnish society. Many studies have ranked Finland amongst the best societies and happiest nations in the world – and here we find proof that it also continues to be a country of high-quality architecture”, states the jury.

The review offers a multimedia gateway to exploring new architectural projects. It also opens up new perspectives and stimulates discourse on upcoming trends in architecture. The exhibition visitors can familiarise themselves with the selected architectural sites via videos featuring interviews with the architects as well as drone footage. In conjunction with the exhibition, an English language book will be published: in addition to project descriptions, it contains articles by Finnish and foreign authors on contemporary Finnish architecture. 

The Finnish Architecture – Biennial Review 2020 exhibition will be open at the Museum of Finnish Architecture from 4 Sept 2020 to 28 Feb 2021, after which it will go on a tour. The selected projects were published in June and can be explored in the Finnish Architecture Navigator through this link

Selected projects

Lapinmäki Daycare Centre (AFKS Architects)

Helsinki Central Library Oodi (ALA Architects)

Tuupala School (alt Architects and Architecture Office Karsikas)

Käpylän Posteljooni Housing Block (Anttinen Oiva Architects)

Gullkronan Senior Housing (Huttunen-Lipasti Architects)

Amos Rex Art Museum and Lasipalatsi restoration (JKMM Architects)

Serpentine House renovation (Kati Salonen & Mona Schalin Architects)

Sauna in the Yard (Mattila & Merz)

Lammassaari Nature Trail (Nomaji Landscape Architects and Studio Puisto Architects)

House MK5 (ORTRAUM architects)

Fuzhou Strait Culture and Art Centre (PES-Architects)

Sipoonlahti School extension (Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen and AFKS Architects)

Airut Residential Block (Sauerbruch Hutton and Optiplan)

Kakola Funicular (Vapaavuori Architects)

Aalto University Väre Building (Verstas Architects)