Video credits: Eu Identity – Made in Europe. Fundacio Mies van der Rohe, 2015
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 office was originally founded in 2001 and it is based in Seinäjoki and Helsinki, Finland, and it currently employs a staff of 15. The office is based in Seinäjoki and Helsinki, Finland, and it currently employs a staff of 15. OOPEAA has been honored with significant awards and won several prizes in competitions both in Finland and abroad, including the State Prize for Architecture 2017, the Alfred Kordelin Prize 2017, the Finlandia Prize for Architecture in 2015, the Wood Architecture Award in 2015, the Canadian Wood Design and Building Award 2016, the American Architecture Prize 2016 in two categories and the Spotlight Prize in 2017. The work of the office has also been selected for the shortlist for the Mies van der Rohe European Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 2005, 2011 and 2017.
We understand the notion of periphery to mean a space of possibility on the borderline between two different worlds. It is about a perspective and about an approach. It is about a space and a moment of transition, of having been something and of being about to become something more. It implies a sense of looking at things from an outside position while embracing the knowledge and understanding offered by an insider.
For us, sustainability is at once about a social and cultural aspect as well as about an ecological aspect. We believe that sustainability must be approached holistically as a social, cultural, ecological as well as economical phenomenon. We are interested in exploring the potential of finding optimal solutions that support both the social and ecological aspects of sustainability while simultaneously being economically efficient in a long-term perspective.
There is an active focus on research and development at OOPEAA. In recent years, our interest in finding ways to optimize the use of material and to create solutions that are architectonically and technically sustainable has led to our involvement in research projects with a focus on sustainability and the potential of wood as a construction material.