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. OOPEAA has been honored with significant awards both in Finland and abroad,including the Finlandia Prize for Architecture in 2015, the Wood Architecture Award in 2015, the Canadian Wood Design and Building Award 2016, and the American Architecture Prize 2016 in two categories. The work of the office has also been selected for the shortlist in the Mies van der Rohe European Prize for Architecture in 2005, 2011 and 2017.
OOPEAA understands 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, about a fruitful moment of being able to identify new potentials in the borderline area in-between one and another. It implies a sense of looking at things from an outside position while embracing the knowledge and understanding offered by an insider. It is about a space and a moment of transition, of having been something and of being about to become something more.
A strong appreciation for a collaborative process of dialogue and knowledge transfer as a means of achieving a new understanding and giving it tangible expression is at the core of the approach of OOPEAA. For us at OOPEAA, collaboration that fosters mutual exchange of knowledge with professionals in different fields of building and construction is an essential part of the process of creating successful architecture. It is always about striking a balance between a well-managed process of design and a willingness to remain open to an exchange with professionals involved in the project each bringing their own expertise to the process.
In our approach to architecture we combine innovation with experience and a sense of respect for tradition and locality. Therefore, it is not about a geographical position but rather about an attitude that combines experience with openness and curiosity for experimentation. Our objective is to create architecture and milieus that are functional, technically and ecologically sustainable, of aesthetically high quality, and committed to the location. We have humbly learnt the appropriate methods of working with wood from the masters of craftsmanship and enjoyed the seamless cooperation with the most skillful of structural engineers.