OOPEAA wins Spotlight Prize 2017

posted on May 26th 2017 in News

The ninth annual Spotlight Prize will be awarded to OOPEAA. Founder and Director Anssi Lassila will visit Houston on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 to accept the prize and give a lecture at The MATCH, Houston, at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

Spotlight: The Rice Design Alliance (RDA) Prize celebrates the work of emerging architects from the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. This award highlights the work of exceptionally gifted architects at an early stage in their professional careers. The RDA Spotlight committee convenes annually to consider local, national, and international architects who demonstrate design excellence and promise a great design future. Since its inception the Spotlight Prize has been awarded to such architects as Sou Fujimoto (Japan), Anton Garcia Abril (Spain), Pezo von Ellrichshausen (Chile), and LA Dallman (U.S.A.) among others. Last year’s award recipient was the Barcelona and Mexico City office of Cadaval & Sola Morales.
This year the Board of Directors of the Rice Design Alliance unanimously selected OOPEAA as the 2017 Spotlight Award recipient in full recognition of the outstanding and inspiring work of the office.

Anssi Lassila is the founder and principal of OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture. His international breakthrough was the Kärsämäki Shingle Church in 2004 after which he quickly gained a distinctive position among young Finnish architects. His architecture displays an interest in combining a sculptural form with traditional materials and innovative techniques. Lassila has extensive experience in working with wood in architecture. In his approach he emphasizes the potential embedded in exploring new methods and techniques as a means of developing new solutions in building. OOPEAA works on a wide range of projects on varying scales from churches and daycare centers to housing and town planning as well as extensions to historically valuable landmarks.

The Rice Design Alliance is a non-profit organization formed within the Rice School of Architecture in 1972 and dedicated to the advancement of architecture, urban design, and the built environment in the Houston region through educational programs, the publication of its award-winning journal Cite: The Architecture + Design Review of Houston, and active programs to initiate physical improvements.
Find more information on the Spotlight Prize here




Tours in Suvela Chapel and Lonna sauna during OpenHouse Helsinki

posted on May 17th 2017 in News

Lonna Sauna in the Helsinki archipelago and Suvela Chapel in Espoo are open for visitors during the OpenHouse Helsinki events on May 19th and 20th. Welcome!

Suvela Chapel tour
Friday, May 19, 2017, 14:00
Address: Kistintie 24, Espoo
Meeting point: main entrance of the Chapel
The tour will be in English

Lonna Sauna tour
Saturday, May 20, 2017, 12:00
Address: Lonnan saari, Helsinki
Meeting point: at the Lonna dock at 11:30
The island of Lonna can be reached on a waterbus operated by JT-Line. The tour starts at the JT-Line dock (Cholera Basin) at the Market Square at 11:30.
The tour will be in English

OpenHouse Helsinki is an event that opens up doors for visitors to experience places that normally are not available to the public. It organizes guided walks in fascinating interior spaces, interesting parts of the city as well as tours of old and new architectural points of interest.

More information about OpenHouse Helsinki events here

Suvela Chapel
The Suvela Chapel is located in Suvela, Espoo, in one of the most multicultural districts in the metropolitan area of Helsinki. Cultural diversity is both a rich potential and a challenge to the community. Attention to the needs of the culturally diverse community is a core principle in the Suvela Chapel. The goal was to create a multifunctional building that offers opportunities for a rich variety of activities and provides a framework for the residents to come together in a flexibly adaptable space.

The Chapel is a dynamic place of activity that serves the entire community and provides a home base for many different organizations. With the adjoining community park, it plays a key role in helping to improve the social sustainability of the neighborhood. The choice of materials, copper for the exterior and spruce for the interiors, supports the long-term sustainability of the building.

More info about the Suvela Chapel here.

Lonna Sauna
The Lonna Sauna is a new a public sauna located on the small island of Lonna in the archipelago just in front of the city center of Helsinki. On the border between urban and nature, between the busy life of the city and the open landscapes on the sea, with views framing the silhouette of city on one side and opening towards the see on the other, the Lonna Sauna brings together the calming and peaceful effect of the sauna ritual and the social aspect of the public sauna as a gathering place for people.

Heated with wood-burning stoves the Lonna Saunaoffers an authentic bathing experience characteristic of the traditional Finnish sauna, while placing it in a new, contemporary architectural frame. The compact sauna building is made of masterfully handcrafted wooden logs that are left untreated. It has a sculptural pitched roof in zinc plate. The large windows opening a view from the sauna loft into the archipelago create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere. A terrace directly accessible from the sauna rooms as well as from the outdoor shower space bridges the sauna with the seashore.

More info about Lonna Sauna project here.


Lonna Sauna will officially open to the public next week

posted on May 10th 2017 in News

The Lonna Sauna by Anssi Lassila / OOPEAA will officially open to the public next week.

We are happy to welcome the summer with the opening of the Lonna Sauna to the public. We invite you to enjoy the special bathing experience offered by the wood heated sauna in the Finnish archipelago just in front of the Helsinki Market Square.

The Lonna Sauna will be open daily 14-19 throughout the summer starting on May 16,2017.

The Lonna island is accessible by a waterbus by JT Lines from the Cholera Basin on the Helsinki Market Square (see waterbus schedule here).
A press preview will take place on Friday, May 12 at 10 o’clock.

The Lonna Sauna by Anssi Lassila / OOPEAA is a new a public sauna located on the small island of Lonna in the archipelago just in
 front of the city center of Helsinki. It is part of the historical continuum of the tradition of public saunas in Finland. 
On the border between urban and nature, between the busy life of the city and the open landscapes on the sea, with views framing the silhouette of the city on one side and opening towards the see on the other, the Lonna Sauna sits in the context of a group of old historical structures built during the Russian rule in the 19th century.
The compact 190 m2 sauna building is built solely with natural materials. It is made of masterfully handcrafted wooden logs that are left untreated. It has a sculptural pitched roof in zinc plate. Heated with wood-burning stoves the Lonna Sauna recreates the calm and almost sacred feeling of the traditional Finnish sauna, while placing it in a new, contemporary architectural frame. The skillful use of larch in the furnishings and the large windows opening a view from the sauna loft into the archipelago create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere. A terrace directly accessible from the sauna rooms as well as from the outdoor shower space bridges the sauna with the seashore.

Images available upon request at end of the May.

For more information on the Lonna Sauna, visit the OOPEAA news page at
Read the full article on the Lonna Sauna here.


Anssi Lassila is lecturing in Oslo

posted on April 24th 2017 in News

Anssi Lassila

A Nordic Perspective on Architecture

Thursday, April 27 at 18:00

Oslo Arkitektforening

Josefine gate 34, Oslo

Anssi Lassila of OOPEAA and Konrad Milton of Jägnefält Milton will be lecturing at the Oslo Architects Association (OAF) in their lecture series on the present and future of the Nordic perspective on architecture. Anssi Lassila will be providing a Finnish perspective on the topic while Konrad Milton will offer a Swedish one. They will each talk about the ways in which the Nordic tradition gets reinterpreted and transformed into a contemporary expression in their architecture. The parallel presentation of the work OOPEAA and Jägnefält Milton provides an exploration into the contemporary practice of architecture in northern Europe, re-interpreting the heritage of the “Scandinavian tradition”. The lectures of the two speakers are followed by Q-A with the public and the architects.

This year the OAF lecture series invites its speakers to reflect on the permanence, interpretation, transformation and evolution of the Scandinavian tradition in today’s architectural practice. On the fringe between rural and urban, the contemporary Nordic architecture is defining a new approach towards architecture and urban planning. Working with both innovative and vernacular materials, it seeks to both understand and challenge the strong minimalistic tradition of Nordic design. In the lecture series, iconic Nordic offices, Scandinavian architects with an office based abroad and young upcoming firms from Northern Europe are invited to present their sense of architecture and belonging through their “Nordic” projects in different contexts and at various scales.

As part of their cultural program for the benefit of their architect members, students, and the general public, the OAF hosts lectures and events on a regular basis. The aim is to maintain a rich discussion on local architecture as well as to broaden the reflection on architecture as a discipline through international examples, both in terms of practice and theory.

Some of the recent speakers in the lecture series organized by the OAF include Shigeru Ban (2016), COBE (2016), Raumlabor (2016), Iñigo de Viar (2015), Grafton Architects (2015), Dominique Perrault (2014), Charles Renfro (2013) and Peter Zumthor (2012).


OOPEAA is part of the Finnish Olympic Design Group designing a proposal for the Winter Olympics in China in 2022

posted on April 19th 2017 in News

The Finnish Olympic Design Group is among the five finalists competing for the task of designing the Nordic Sports Park for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. The group is composed of six Finnish architecture and engineering offices along with sports experts from Finland. The final decision on the winning proposal will be announced in May this year.

The plan develops a proposal for a Nordic venue cluster that provides facilities for ski jumping, cross-country skiing and biathlon in three separate centers. It is located in the Valley of Shu Hua, a site with a unique cultural history and a population of 120 000 with the majority of the people currently living in small villages. With an emphasis on sustainability, the goal is to create a functionally efficient Olympic venue that can be transformed after the Olympics to serve the needs of the local community in the long run. The site is located about 200 km away from Beijing and it will be connected to city by a fast train.

The members of the multidisciplinary team of the Finnish Olympic Design Group are PES Architects, OOPEAA, Tengbom Eriksson Architects, VSU Landscape Architects, FCG Finnish Consulting Group, A Engineers and Lahti Events with Janne Leskinen and Marjo Matikainen-Kallström as experts on Nordic winter sports.


The moment of final countdown for the World Championships in Lahti is here

posted on February 24th 2017 in News

Just a little over one year ago, on February 19, 2016, the countdown clock for the Lahti World Championships in Nordic Skiing in 2017 was officially started. Now the moment of the final countdown is here and it is time for the World Championships in Lahti.

The countdown clock for the World Championships in Lahti was designed by Anssi Lassila / OOPEAA. The clock has been counting down time to the start of the championships since February last year.

In line with the core value of the championships for Lahti, environmental responsibility, the clock is made of cross-laminated timber, CLT, and produced with local materials. It has been realized in collaboration with Stora Enso, the lead sponsor of the championships, who has provided the material for the clock, and built by students at the Lahti University of Applied Sciences and at the Salpaus Further Education.

The goal was to create a sculptural piece made of wood using Finnish knowhow and local materials. The multi-dimensional grid structure of the frame of the clock resembles that of a house of cards.The crystal-like composition also alludes to the graphic identity of the championships which takesthe multifaceted structure of a snowflake as its source of inspiration. The clock is made of the heartwood of local pine with a special oil treatmentthat improves the durability and ecological sustainability of the wood making it especially well suited for outdoor conditions.


Anssi Lassila giving a lecture at the annual Bryggman Seminar today

posted on February 10th 2017 in News

Bryggman Seminar
The Architecture of Churches
February 10 – 11, 2017

Friday, February 10, 2017
Seminar 10 – 17
The Swedish Parish House
Aurakatu 18, Turku

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Excursion 10 – 16
to look at church architecture in Turku

Lecture by Anssi Lassila
Friday, February 10, 2017 at 15.30 – 17
“Four Churches, Four Tales”

Anssi Lassila will be giving a lecture under the title “Four Churches, Four Tales” at the annual Bryggman Seminar in Turku on February 10.
Resonating with the work of Erik Bryggman, the theme of the seminar focuses on the architecture of churches in modern Finland. Through presentations by Claes Caldenby, professor at Chalmers Univeristy in, Gothenburg on the work of Sigurd Lewerentz and Peter Celsing and by Sirkkaliisa Jetsonen from the National Board of Antiquities on the role of light and material in church architecture from the 1950s to the 1980s, the seminar offers a look at the history of modern church architecture. Presentations by Matti Sanaksenaho of Sanaksenaho Architects, Tiitta Itkonen of LPR Architects and Anssi Lassila of OOPEAA provide reflections on their own work on church buildings in the more recent years in Finland. Antti Pihkala, the Chief Architect at the National Church Council will talk about the trends and challenges in reformation of church architecture through the 20th century to today.

In his lecture, Anssi Lassila will tell the four tales of the four church and chapel buildings he has designed during his career, starting with the Kärsämäki Church in 2004 and the Klaukkala Church in 2005 and continuing to the Kuokkala Church in 2010 and with the Suvela Chapel completed in 2016 as the most recent example. Each of these buildings serve as important focal points and gathering places in their respective communities, and behind each of them there is a story unique to that particular community. In his talk, Anssi Lassila will share how these stories are intricately interwoven into to fabric of the buildings.

More information on the Bryggman seminar in Finnish can be found here.


Puukuokka Housing and Suvela Chapel by OOPEAA shortlisted for the 2017 EU Mies Award

posted on January 31st 2017 in News


The European Commission and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe have announced the 40 shortlisted works that will compete for the 2017 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award.
355 works were nominated for the award and an expert Jury drew up the final shortlist. Two buildings by OOPEAA are among the shortlisted works: Puukuokka One, the first eight-story wooden apartment building with a load bearing frame made of massive timber in Finland, and Suvela Chapel, a multifunctional space designed to provide a place for the people of one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in Finland to come together.

The chosen 40 works highlight the opportunities and the trends of today’s European territory: cities, housing, heritage and memory. A third of the works selected tackle the challenge of contemporary architecture in relation with built heritage. It is also very significant that a third of the work tackles the contemporary challenges of housing.

There are 4 works shortlisted in France, 4 in Portugal and 4 in the United Kingdom; 3 in Denmark, Spain, Finland, The Netherlands and Norway; 2 in Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Turkey; and 1 in Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Sweden. The cities with most works are London (3), Lisbon (2), Dublin (2) and Espoo (2).
Furthermore, the Jury members underlined that the group of 40 exceptional works show a decrease in iconic architecture projects. They also highlighted the mix of uses of the works and the prevalence of Housing projects (14) and Cultural facilities (11). Education, accommodation, industry, sport, offices, landscape, mixed-use and social welfare are also present.

The five finalists will be announced in mid-February and the Winner and Emerging Winner in mid-May. The Award Ceremony will take place on 26 May 2017 at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. In Barcelona, an exhibition with the 355 nominated works can already be visited at the Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB).


In the Puukuokka Housing Complex, a system of prefabricated volumetric modules made of cross-laminated timber (CLT) was developed as a way of making use of wood as a sustainable material in multi-story apartment buildings. The system offers a solution that is of high quality and provides for a good quality of life while also being economically affordable, energy efficient and ecologically sustainable. Puukuokka also pilots a new lease-to-own model of financing in order to support social sustainability.

See the entry on Mies Awards´website here

Find more information about the Puukuokka Housing here

Suvela Chapel

 The Suvela Chapel offers a shared space for the culturally diverse population of the Suvela community to come together in. It serves a broad range of functions, ranging from the religiously associated functions of a chapel to serving as a meeting-space, providing spaces for a daycare center and for the local youth to gather as well as for workshops and hobbies. The choice of materials, copper for the exterior cladding and spruce for the interior surfaces supports the long-term sustainability of the building.

See the entry on Mies Awards´website here

Find more information about the Suvela Chapel here

Find more information about the 40 works here

Find more information about the Jury members here

Find more information about the Mies Award here and here


Suvela Chapel featured in Architectural Record

posted on January 16th 2017 in News

The Suvela Chapel by OOPEAA is featured in the January issue of Architectural Record in an article written by Peter MacKeith, Dean and Professor of Architecture at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas. 

Describing the approach of the OOPEAA to creating architecture MacKeith writes: “OOPEAA’s multiple commissions demonstrate a strong commitment to building well in the harsh Finnish climate, with distinct material quality, and within budgetary and other constraints. Copper was selected for its long, maintenance-free lifespan and its ability to clad an entire exterior, both walls and roof. … The eventual green patina over the untreated surface is seen by the architect as a desirable sign of age.”

MacKeith applauds the result of the design process for its engagement in a dialogue with the community in a series of searching conversations over many months in order to create a welcoming and accessible space. He writes: “Suvela Chapel’s fitting of form to purpose and its attention to design fundamentals achieve a dignified urban presence. The engaged process of its making, while less visible or material, is perhaps equally substantial: the built work has activated both the sacred and secular life of that community. To paraphrase the architect: in Finland, what else should a church be?”

Read the full article in Architectural Record here

More information and images on the Suvela Chapel can be found here


Puukuokka One, Suvela Chapel and Periscope Tower by OOPEAA nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017

posted on December 15th 2016 in News

Puukuokka One, Suvela Chapel and Periscope Tower by OOPEAA nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017

We are happy to announce that three buildings designed by OOPEAA have been nominated amongst the projects for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2017.

Launched in 1987, the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award is one of the most prestigious acknowledgments for European architects. Funded by the EU Cultural Programme and the Fundacio Mies van der Rohe(FMvdR) – Barcelona, the biannual prize gives credit to professionals who are developing the architectural practice through new ideas and technologies, to build better spaces and cities. (a hyperlink to Mies Foundation here?

Kärsämäki Church and Kuokkala Church were selected as shortlisted projects respectively in 2005 and 2011, and House Riihi was nominated for the 2015 award. We are glad to see the work of OOPEAA nominated once again as a candidates for the prize, this time with three projects, Puukuokka One, the first eight-story wooden apartment building in Finland, Suvela Chapel, a multifunctional space designed to provide a place for the people of one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in Finland to come together, and Periscope Tower, a giant wooden periscope structure that with the help of a large mirror serves as an observation tower engaging the viewer in a dialogue with the landscape in a way that is accessible to all.
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