Puuhi is a space for informal encounters and vibrant cultural activity in the village of Soini, Finland. Commissioned by the local people of the Ostrobothnian village, it offers a place for the community to come together in an informal and relaxed setting to enjoy music and art in the company of others. The active agent behind the project is Kyläpääskyt ry, a community association founded in 2008 by the people of Soini. They chose to ask Anssi Lassila of OOPEAA to create them a building to serve as a place in which people can come together to create, present and enjoy art and culture in its many forms ranging from music to theater and the fine arts. As a native of Soini, Anssi Lassila was a natural choice and he gladly accepted the job of creating a space of culture and community for the people of the village in which he grew up and in which he still spends his weekends and summers in a house that he has built on the grounds of his family farm.
Puuhi is built with local materials and it was realized in close collaboration with Aki Alatalo, a local carpenter with a special skill in working with wood. The foundation of the building is made of stone recycled from a former school building in the area and the building itself is entirely made of wood. The space is deliberately open and it can be adapted for many different kinds of uses. In the summer time the space can be opened up to extend out to the yard. The atmosphere of the wooden building is warm and informal and the acoustical qualities of the space are excellent. This past weekend, Puuhi served as the opening venue of the annual Soinillinen Music and Gastronomy Festival in Soini.
For more information on the festival, see https://www.soinillinen.fi/festivaali-2019
On June 1, 2019 the OOPEAA Seinäjoki Office is moving to new premises in a central location in downtown in Seinäjoki. The new space is on the street level and features large windows opening to the street. That allows the work of the office to take on a visible presence in the life of the city. It also makes it possible for the office to actively engage with the city around it.
The new location of the office is well in line with the work that OOPEAA is currently doing on developing the vision for the future Seinäjoki city center. One of the guiding principles of the vision is the goal of activating the center. This shall be done by building a balanced mix of a variety of uses from residential to services, and from offices to spaces for retail, restaurants and cafes along with a street scape that supports walking and bicycling and creates an enjoyable environment of green spaces and places to spend time in both indoors and outdoors in the downtown area of the city.
The central downtown location of the new office also offers a valuable opportunity to connect with the history of the city. From the new OOPEAA office one has a view to the Southern Ostrobothnia Civil Guard Headquarters building (Suojeluskuntatalo), the first public work of Alvar Aalto, built in 1924-1926 in the neoclassicist style of the 1920s with features from functionalism and from local Ostrobothnian building traditions.
The new address of the OOPEAA Seinäjoki Office is
Kauppakatu 19 A
We welcome you to informally drop by to visit us in the new premises!
The proposal Koota developed by OOPEAA to be realized in collaboration with the Tila Group wins the competition for a new wooden housing block to be built in the West Bank of Porvoo, a small historical city with a significant heritage of wooden buildings from the 19th century. Located on a river delta by the coast in southern Finland, Porvoo offers great quality of life and a small town atmosphere within a convenient commuting distance from the metropolitan Helsinki. Koota seeks to provide a contemporary addition to the tradition of wooden housing in the growing city of Porvoo. It creates a new solution for urban living in a way that is both ecologically and socially sustainable and promotes a sense of community amongst the residents.
An Urban Village
The composition of the Koota block is designed around the concept of an urban village. The scale is at once deliberately urban, yet not very high in density. It provides a sense of community while also emphasizes strong links to the surrounding context of the city. Building a sense of continuity with the existing urban structure Koota facilitates the growth of the city in a way that maintains the small town identity of Porvoo. The block is composed of several buildings that together form a village-like whole. It provides a varied mix of residential spaces, shared communal facilities, commercial and office space, and open outdoor areas.
The scale of the buildings varies from smaller townhouse-like buildings and row houses to multi-story apartment buildings bringing a range of different kinds on living together in a lively and multifaceted neighborhood that serves a community of people of different ages from single dwellers to families. The buildings lining the street are low and long. There are taller apartment buildings placed in the interior part of the block
as well as townhouses and row housed with a smaller scale that offers an opportunity for a less urban style living with a private yard space attached to each unit. The ground floors are activated to facilitate a lively urban community. On the street side there are spaces reserved for various kinds of commercial activity from office spaces to cafes and retail spaces. On the courtyard side there are communal facilities for shared use by the residents, including a sauna, a workshop space for fixing bikes, laundry facilities as well as spaces for meetings and hobbies. In the interior courtyard there are generous open garden spaces for the shared use by the residents.
The apartments range from duplex apartments with lofts in the upper floors to more traditional apartments on just one floor and to atelier-type apartments with two floors and a direct access from the yard. Each apartment has a balcony or a small yard of its own. The balconies form an intermediary zone mediating between the public and the private. Through the balconies the daily life is also present in the image of the block adding its own color and character to it. They also provide shading to shelter the interior spaces from too much direct sunlight.
The varied roof shapes give the buildings character and give the block a clearly identifiable architectural expression and a unique identity of its own. The roof scape intentionally creates an association with the traditional picturesque wooden towns linking the block with the historical heritage of the city of Porvoo. While the shapes of the roofs take reference from those of the Finnish tradition of building in wood, they have been realized with a fresh modern touch making use of contemporary methods and in a way that responds to the needs of today’s dwellers.
A Modular Structure of Mass Timber
All buildings in the Koota block have a CLT-based structure of massive wood and the façade material is also wood. The primary load bearing structure in all buildings is composed of prefabricated volumetric modules with all walls, flooring and ceilings made of CLT. Also the elevator shafts as well as the flooring of the hallways are made of CLT, while the foundations and the basement level are of concrete. The structural solution is based on volumetric modules made of CLT. All piping for water, air and electricity is integrated in the wall between the individual apartment units that come fully prepared from the factory and the hallway that is constructed on site. This makes it possible to keep the CLT-modules clean during the construction phase as well as to update, change and repair the system without any need to gain access into the apartments.
The use of prefabricated volumetric modules made of CLT is both economically efficient and ecologically sustainable. The technique of building with volumetric modules is based on the principle of making use of the potential of an advanced level of prefabrication under controlled conditions in a factory. It makes it possible to cut down the on-site construction time bringing significant savings in the cost construction. It also makes it possible to control the humidity and moisture during the process of production and preparation of the modules and helps to minimize the noise and dust caused by the construction site.
Anssi Lassila will give a lecture at the Oulu School of Architecture in their Monday Matinee series on March 25, 2019. The lecture is part of the Program on Contemporary Architecture.
March 25, 2019 at 15:15
Agora, Oulu School of Architecture
Biologintie 8, Oulu
The lecture will be held in English and it is open to all. Warmly welcome!
In the lecture, Anssi Lassila will reflect on his approach to architecture using select projects through the years as illustrative examples. The talk will span a range of works from his early experience with the Kärsämäki Church, a result of a student competition during his years as a student at the Oulu School of Architecture, to more recent projects, such as the Lonna Sauna and the Taika Kindergarten. A selection of projects of different scale will be presented from single-family homes to apartment blocks and plans for entire neighborhoods, from private buildings to public buildings, from churches to kindergartens. Also a few upcoming projects currently in the process of design and execution, such as the Global Concept for the Allas Sea Pool and the Oulu Allas Sea Pool, will be addressed. Anssi Lassila will also discuss how his work has been informed by a constant dialogue between the particular qualities of the Northern context and the larger international framework of contemporary architecture resulting in a unique and individual architecture that is deeply rooted in its context.
OOPEAA is leading a series of workshops together with Gehl to develop the vision for the future Seinäjoki City Center. As part of this series, on March 19, 2019, there will be an open workshop on envisioning the future Seinäjoki City Center. Everyone is welcome to participate. Prior to the workshop there will be a lecture by David Sim, Artistic Director of Gehl, on the topic of “How to Build a Good City”. The lecture is also open to all.
How to Build a Good City
Council Hall, Kirkkokatu 6, Seinäjoki
14:00 Introduction and a lecture by David Sim, Artistic Director of Gehl People
15:00 – 17:00 Open workshop event on envisioning the future Seinäjoki City Center
Registration is suggested, but not required. Please register by email by March 14, 2019 at email@example.com.
Your registration will help us to better plan for the event.
The event will be held in Finnish and in English with translations.
The city of Seinäjoki is one of the fastest growing urban areas in Finland. In this period of growth, the central parts of the city have a great potential to offer in developing the city in a way that can help make the entire city of Seinäjoki more livable, attractive and connected.
OOPEAA in collaboration with Gehl is working together with the City of Seinäjoki to create a strategic vision for the urban development of the Seinäjoki City Center. The goal is to create a spatial strategy for a holistic development of the city.
The collaborative process, including the series of workshops, helps to envision the future spaces in the city center and to test ideas together in order to create a shared framework for guidelines for the future development of the Seinäjoki center. In order to translate the vision into a tangible tool for action, a toolbox will be created to provide a set of alternative solutions to be applied for the future development of the Seinäjoki City Center.
The first workshop took place on January 24, 2019. It was organized around the theme of goals, visions and hopes with the topic of “How do we live in the future Seinäjoki?” The second set of workshops takes place in March 2019. It focuses on the theme of “Building the city”.
For more information on the project, see here.
The proposal by OOPEAA and Töölö Urban, Kaarna, wins the design and build competition for a Cultural River Float, a floating structure to provide a place of cultural activity on the river Aura in a central location in Turku, Finland. The competition was organized by the City of Turku with the aim of activating the river landscape and the area in front of the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum, an important art museum and a focal place of culture in the city. The competition set out to seek a floating structure that would offer a place for cultural activity all year round with a convincing business concept and high architectural quality. OOPEAA is responsible for the architectural design while the business concept is developed by Töölö Urban.
With spruce and larch as its main materials, and the wide, amphitheater like wooden stairs that offer a place for gathering and hanging out, Kaarna has a strong identity with a special character of its own. It proudly takes its place in the historically significant cultural landscape by the river bridging together the prominent cultural buildings and the greenery of the riverside park. The multifaceted roof links the structure with the surrounding modernist buildings with its bold, contemporary expression. The green creepers growing along the walls, in turn, connect with the greenery in the park. The carefully designed lighting beautifully lifts the floating structure in the river in the evening hours inviting visitors to come in. The generous roof terraces afford great views over the river and the shore activating the river as a central element in the city in a new way.
Kaarna will provide a place of activity and gathering for people of all ages throughout the year making the river a living part of the city. The spaces are divided into three functionally differentiated zones. In one end of the 120 meters long and 20 meters wide structure there will be a sauna and a conference space complemented in the other end by a restaurant and a café with ample outdoor space and semi-warm terraces, as well as flexibly adjustable spaces for a range of different kinds of activities. There will also be three pools for swimming outdoors all year round, one of them for children, one 25-meter pool with heated water, and one pool with river water.
In the middle part of the building wide wooden stairs rise on three sides facing the river. Serving as a place for meeting and hanging out with a view over the river, the stairs form a strong visual and functional focal point for the building. The children’s pool in the middle transforms into a stage and the stairs function as an auditorium. In case of larger concert events, it is also possible to use a separate floating stage that can be brought in through waterways for special occasions. The area otherwise used as a stage can then be used for extending the seating capacity.
Together, all the different spaces in the structure form a multifunctional whole in which the different kinds of activities each have their own clearly dedicated zone. The pools introduce water as an element into the building making it a central part of its activity. While the floating building is a place of social gathering and of enjoying the scenery, it is also a place of sports as well as a place of sauna and relaxation. It provides a platform for multiple activities from yoga classes to concerts and film screenings, from small private events into public events for large audiences.
OOPEAA and Töölö Urban won also the second prize in the competition with their proposal Kiila, which is based on the same functional principles as their winning proposal Kaarna, but is smaller in scale. The proposals by OOPEAA and Töölö Urban were praised for best responding to the goals set for the Cultural River Float competition to activate the city’s relationship to the river and to offer a platform for activity for people of all ages throughout the year.
For more information on the Cultural River Float project in Turku in Finnish, see here.
For a press release by the City of Turku in Finnish, see here.
We are happy to announce that three projects by OOPEAA are eligible to be nominated as one of the five finalists in their category in the 10th edition of ArchDaily Building of the Year Awards.
Voting is open until Sunday, March 3, 2019. Please use the following links to give your vote. Please note that you can vote for only one project in each of the fifteen categories.
Puukuokka Housing Block, category: Housing
The Puukuokka Housing Block explores the potential of modular prefabricated CLT construction to meet the goal of providing high quality, environmentally responsible and affordable housing. Comprised of three 6-8-story buildings, it is an energy efficient and ecological trio of wood-framed apartment buildings in Jyväskylä. Completed in 2015, Puukuokka One was the first eight-story high wooden apartment building in Finland. Puukuokka Two was completed in 2017 and Puukuokka Three in August 2018. The entire complex offers homes for 184 households from single dwellers of all ages to families with children.
The goal was to find a solution that makes the best possible use of the technical and aesthetic qualities of CLT and to create a wooden building in large scale with a distinct architectonic expression of its own. Puukuokka served as a pilot case to develop and test a CLT based system of volumetric modules. Puukuokka also pilots an innovative lease-to-own financing strategy that aims to support social sustainability by promoting stable communities.
For more information on the Puukuokka Block, see here.
To vote for the Puukuokka Housing Block, use this link.
Risuviita Housing, category: Housing
Risuviita offers a combination of social housing and special housing for people with autism spectrum in Seinäjoki, Finland. With the nine apartments serving residents with autism spectrum located in the same building with the rental apartments providing social housing, Risuviita offers a combination of varied forms of living in a balanced mix. The different types of apartments are functionally separated from each other. In a U-shaped formation, the Risuviita buildings grow from one story high on the southern part of the block to four stories in the northern part of the block creating a sheltered courtyard with a pleasant microclimate in the middle and allowing the maximal amount of daylight and sun into the yard and the apartments. The special sensitivities of the residents have been carefully considered in the design of the apartments, for example in the lighting that can be made dimmer of brighter according to need, with a special attention to natural light, in the clear organization and functional division of spaces, as well as in the colors and acoustics of the spaces. The apartments are clearly divided into zones according to functions.
For more information on the Risuviita Housing, see here.
To vote for the Risuviita Housing, use this link.
Taika Kindergarten: category: Educational
The Taika Kindergarten building is carefully designed with the needs and the scale of children in mind in order to provide them an experiential and friendly space. Taika has been well loved by the staff and the children alike since the beginning. Despite the relatively large number of children served, Taika offers a home-like scale. It provides daycare for 225 children between ages of one and seven as well as a place of work for 50 staff members. Taika also serves families with parents with shift work schedules offering overnight care for a rotating group of 200 children with a maximum of 60 children spending the night in the kindergarten at a time. This means that all overnight childcare offered by the City of Seinäjoki to its residents is now gathered under one roof. Also the offices of the regional directors of early education services are now all in one place in the Taika building supporting their work as a team of coordinators of regional services.
With its flexibly adapting naptime spaces, its highly practical foyer areas equipped to deal with the challenges brought along by the Nordic weather and the high demands it poses on handling children’s outdoor clothing, as well as the pockets of loosely separated outdoor areas each with its own porch to provide shelter from rain and to serve children of different age groups, the Taika Kindergarten is a great example of the contemporary Nordic approach to the design of kindergarten buildings.
For more information on the Taika Kindergarten, see the project description here.
To vote for the Taika Kindergarten, use this link.
The building permit for the New Tikkurila Church designed by OOPEAA as an alliance project realized in collaboration with Lujatalo and the Vantaa Parishes has been approved by the Vantaa City Planning Office. The construction of the new church will start during the spring and the church is slated to be ready at the end of 2020. The church is commissioned by the Vantaa Parishes.
Adjoining the church, a block of housing providing a combination of apartments for affordable housing and student housing is also under design by OOPEAA in alliance with Lujatalo and the Vantaa Parishes. The Bethania Housing will offer 185 units of apartments in a total of 11 725 square meters. It is commissioned by the Vantaa Parishes and by HOAS, the Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region.
Centrally located in Tikkurila, the new church building will serve the community in many ways. It will have a strong presence in the streetscape and form an identifying landmark for the neighborhood. The multifunctional building offers a range of flexibly adaptable spaces accommodating a variety of uses and it is easily accessible by public transportation as well as by foot and by bicycle. The church hall will seat an audience of 500 in its maximum capacity, with the possibility to divide the space in various ways to allow for multiple simultaneous activities according to need. There will be workspace for up to 143 people and several meeting spaces of various sizes offering different levels of openness or privacy to serve the needs of the people of the neighborhood. There will also be a café and a shop area, and the yard of the church will provide additional gathering space in the summer months.
The scale of the building takes the personal experience of people as its starting point with accessibility as one of the central guiding principles of the design. Also the shape and the scale of the building follow the principle of accessibility. While the scale is lower and more moderate around the entrances, it grows bigger and taller in the part containing the main church hall, reaching high towards the light that enters into the space in a delicately subtle manner. In the interiors, the atmosphere is cozy and relaxed, and in the choice of materials, the principles of life cycle sustainability and longevity are key. Burnt brick is the one of main materials used in the exterior, with dark roof tiles giving character to the slanted roof surfaces. They are both materials that age well acquiring a beautiful patina over time.
The Vantaa City Council approved the revised plan for the block in June 2018 and the plan entered into effect in August 2018. Demolition of the old structures in the block started in October 2018, and construction of the new church with its multi-functional spaces will start in the coming spring, 2019, with the construction of the Bethania housing block to follow. The design process is conducted in close association with the local people inviting them to engage in a dialogue around the creation of the new church. You can follow the process on the blog “Tikkurilan taivaan alla” at http://tikkurilantaivaanalla.blogspot.com/. The blog is in Finnish.
You can find more information on the New Tikkurila Church here.
OOPEAA is leading a series of invited workshops together with Gehl People to develop the vision for the future Seinäjoki City Center. The first workshop took place on January 24, 2019. It was organized around the theme of goals, visions and hopes with the topic of “How do we live in the future Seinäjoki?”. The morning session was held with city officials and the afternoon session with upper school students giving both groups an opportunity to actively engage in thinking about the future development of their city. This first workshop day will be followed by a second set of workshops later in the spring with the topic of “Building the city”. The workshops will be complemented with additional focus meetings with restricted groups during the spring.
The goal is to develop a vision for the future Seinäjoki city center and to create a spatial strategy for a holistic development of the city. The city of Seinäjoki is one of the fastest growing urban areas in Finland. In this period of growth, the central parts of the city have a great potential to offer in developing the city in a way that can help make the entire city of Seinäjoki more liveable, attractive and connected.
The center of Seinäjoki is characterized by a unique combination of assets with strong potential: The Cultural Center with the theatre, library, the Lakeuden Risti Church and the administrative center with the town hall, all originally designed by Alvar Aalto in the late 1950s and early 1960s, forms the cultural core of the city. The new library designed to complement Aalto’s original library provides s an important place of active civic life for the citizens of Seinäjoki from young to old. The train station and the travel center connect to city effectively by public transportation to the surrounding regions, and the parkland and greenery along the river that runs through the city offer a great opportunity for enjoying the outdoors even in the very center of the city. Together all of these elements provide a great starting point for creating a vision for a sustainable and liveable city in the future.
OOPEAA in collaboration with Gehl is working together with the City of Seinäjoki to create a strategic vision for the urban development of the Seinäjoki City Centre. The collaborative process helps to envision the future spaces in the city center and to test ideas together in order to create a shared framework for guidelines for the future development of the Seinäjoki centre. In order to translate the vision into a tangible tool for action, a toolbox will be created to provide a set of guidelines and alternative solutions to be applied for the future development of the Seinäjoki City Centre.
The strategic vision and the toolbox that facilitates its implementation will be developed in a series of workshops together with representatives of the City. In creating the vision, design and communication go hand in hand. OOPEAA acts as the lead coordinator and the main designer of the project and Gehl People offers their expertise in analysing the spatial dynamics of the urban life on the streets and public spaces. The Urban Planning Department of Seinäjoki supports in the organization of the workshops and in facilitating the communication in order to help involve stakeholders and locals in the process.
ARA, Center for Funding and Development of Housing has chosen the Puukuokka Block as the recipient of the Best ARA Square Meters of the Year Award 2019. The award is granted by ARA and given out annually for a project providing affordable housing of high quality with a special attention on the long-term sustainability of the building over its entire life span. The Puukuokka Block is recognized as a unique and exemplary building project that paves way for a new approach to the construction of housing in the future.
This year, 2019, marks 70 years of funding for loans by ARA for building affordable housing. The award is given out in the annual ARA Day Seminar held on January 15, 2019. This year the seminar celebrates the anniversary of the loan granting activity of ARA.
For more information on the seminar program, see here.
The Puukuokka complex offers homes for 184 households from single dwellers of all ages to families with children. Finished in 2015, Puukuokka One was the first eight-story high wooden apartment building in Finland. Puukuokka Two was completed in 2017, and Puukuokka Three in August 2018. With the completion of Puukuokka Three, the energy-efficient and ecological trio of multi-story wooden apartment buildings forming the Puukuokka Block is now complete. The Puukuokka housing has been extremely well received by the residents who praise it for creating a comfortable living environment with an excellent framework for a friendly and socially stable neighborhood.
Puukuokka explores the potential of modular prefabricated CLT construction to provide environmentally responsible and affordable housing of high quality. Puukuokka attempts to make the best possible use of the technical and aesthetic qualities of CLT and to create a wooden building in large scale with a distinct architectonic expression of its own. The block also pilots an innovative lease-to-own financing strategy that aims to support social sustainability by promoting stable communities.
The concept for the application of volumetric CLT-modules to create multi-story apartment buildings with a loadbearing structure entirely made of wood was developed in collaboration with Stora Enso. The Puukuokka project was commissioned by Lakea and it was realized in collaboration with the City of Jyväskylä. The goals set for creating an innovative concept for an ecologically and socially sustainable concept for multi-family housing were exceedingly well met and the project was realized within the set budget framework and schedule.
For more information on the Puukuokka Block, see here.