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A photo of a white box-like building. The facade opens like a curtain to expose the entrance to the building. People are walking in front of the building. One person is standing with a Finnish flag on their hand.
Finland's pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai, designed by JKMM Architects. photo: Gerry O’Lear

Finnish architecture offices busy abroad

This autumn several Finnish architecture offices have achieved international recognition and visibility through completed designs, success in competitions and awards.

Since the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris, World Expos have served as a platform to present an image of Finland and its architecture, too. Finland’s pavilion to the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai was designed by JKMM Architects. According to its designers, the Finnish nature and the shapes of traditional Arabic tents are combined in the architecture of the pavilion, called Snow Cape

Business Finland has produced Finland’s exhibition at Dubai and put the designing of the pavilion and the exhibition out to tender. JKMM won the architecture competition together with the Swiss Expomobilia responsible for the building of the pavilion. JKMM is also part of the Symbiosis design group that won the competition for the exhibition concept. The main theme of the exhibition in the Finnish Pavilion is Sharing Future happiness and it is open until the end of March 2022. 

Finnish architecture offices have been successful in Europe, too. B&M Architects came second in an international competition to redesign the railway station, central station square and public transport terminal in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. 33 entries were submitted to the competition organised by Vilnius city municipality, together with Lithuanian Railways (LTG) and according to the jury’s scoring there were clearly two best entries: the 1. prize winner Zaha Hadid Architects, and 2. prize winner B&M Architects. 

Participants were asked to create an iconic and globally recognizable international railway station, offer a public transportation infrastructure that represents Vilnius in compliance with the highest standards, form an attractive station square, and offer an idea for a viable and cohesive urban centre surrounding the station. The commission will be awarded to the selected architect in November. 

A visualisation of a railway station. A modern wave like canopy covers the platforms behind an old classical station building.
B&M Architects’ entry for the Vilnius’ railway station and public transport terminal architectural design competition. picture: B&M Architects

As for the refurbishment of the Helsinki Olympic Stadium by K2S Architects and Architects NRT, it was awarded with a silver medal by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS). Experts from the architectural world gathered in Cologne on 26 October to recognise and celebrate innovative, sustainable and inclusive sports and leisure architecture. Four Gold, seven Silver and seven Bronze winning facilities were awarded the prestigious accolade. 

More good news from the world ought to be announced in the coming year. ALA Architects together with 19 other companies and teams have been selected to a competition for the new design of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall in Prague. The concert hall will be constructed by the Vltava river and will house both major Prague orchestras — the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. The final architectural design will be selected in April 2022.

ALA Architects has been invited to two other ongoing international competitions, too. In the first one the task is to redesign Rotterdam’s main library from the 1980’s and in the second one to design a new archeological museum of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania into the historical harbour of Rostock. 


More information on Finland’s pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai can be found on the pavilion’s own web page through this link (opens in a new tab).

More information on the Vilnius’ railway station competition and the winning entries can be found on the competition’s web page through this link (opens in a new tab).

More information about the IOC, IPC and IAKS award international architecture prizes can be found through this link (opens in a new tab).

More information about the architectural competitions ALA Architects is participating in can be found through the following links that open in new tabs: Prague, Rotterdam and Rostock.