Skip to Content
Venice 2016

New Books: IN practice & Forty and Famous

During the Biennale Opening days, two books featuring Finnish architect offices were launched. The “IN practice” research project and high-profile international network selected JKMM Architects from Finland to be included in their new book of best European architecture firms operating outside of the so-called “starchitect” elite. The book, which represents the state of committed architecture in Europe, was published at Palazzo Widmann on the 26th May 2016, in conjunction with the opening of the Venice Architecture Biennale. Tarja Nurmi, Finnish architect and distinguished architecture critic, was one of the expert advisors for the international jury.

Venice Biennale 2016 Tarja Nurmi
Architecture critic Tarja Nurmi.

Also Finnish ALA Architects were featured in the Forty and Famous book by Amilcar Publishers. The Forty and Famous includes 10 interviews with successful young European architects.

In the midst of the financial crisis, some architects have found a new attitude, a hands- on practice, with great commitment and an eagerness to get things done, thinking large-scale against all odds. How did they succeed? By winning competitions (ALA, KOKO, Barozzi/Veiga), by finding new clients outside Europe (SO – IL, WWAA), by raising new issues (ZUS, JDS), by innovating typologies (Chartier Dalix, Jürgen Mayer H.) and by new types of organization (Assemble) – usually by mixing all of the above, after having been educated abroad for some time.

This selection also offers insight in the different circumstances in which these architects blossom: through clients in America, Asia and Georgia, post-communist courage in Central Europe and Estonia, bottom-up strategies in The Netherlands and England, an international Erasmus generation flowering in Spain, new traditionalists in France, the benefits of young-architect-friendly Finland, and cross-over markets in Belgium.

The discussion around Forty and Famous will continue in June with the event Reactivate! Europe Conversations. The event takes place June 8, at 20.00 pm, in Pakhuis De Zwijger Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Participating architects are Andrus Koresaar from KOKO architects, Estonia; Julien De Smedt from JDSA, Belgium and Juho Grönholm from ALA Architects, Finland.

Somehow architects in search for new topics, new economics, and new clients are thought to produce only small-scale, bottom-up, temporary projects. Some however can boast on an international career working on large scale projects for big clients, responding to climate issues, public space, product development or public buildings like museums, libraries and concert halls. This evening will focus on 3 successful European practices that have reached international recognition, while at the same time tackling important issues in innovating practices.

Andrus Kõresaar signing the Forty and Famous book.


Venice 2016
Antti Nousjoki and Juho Grönholm from ALA Architects with Andrus Kõresaar from Estonian KOKO Architects.