After the very unusual year 2020 we are now happy to welcome the new year 2021. Thanks to the wonderful team at OOPEAA and the great partners that we had the pleasure to work with, we managed to carry on well with our work even in the challenging circumstances brought on by the pandemic in 2020, and we now have a lot to look forward to in 2021.
The new Tikkurila Church will be inaugurated in January 2021.
The construction of the new Tikkurila Church was completed just at the end of the year and the church will be inaugurated in January 2021. The adjoining Bethania Housing will be completed in the spring and it will be ready for the new residents to move in by the summer. Centrally located in Tikkurila, the new church building forms an identifying landmark for the neighborhood. It has a strong presence in the street-scape and it is easily accessible.
Offering a range of flexibly adaptable spaces to accommodate a variety of uses, the multifunctional building will serve the community in many ways. The main church hall will seat an audience of 500 in its maximum capacity, and it is possible to divide the space in different ways to allow for multiple simultaneous activities when needed. The building provides workspace for up to 143 employees, and several meeting spaces of various sizes to serve the needs of the people of the neighborhood. There is also a café, a children’s corner, and a shop area. The yard of the church provides additional gathering space in the summer months.
Villa Koivikko, Writer’s Studio, image by Angel Gil
During this past year, we have had the pleasure to be involved in several very different projects dealing with the theme of creating something new by bringing old and new layers of architecture together. The delicate work of restoring the landmarked modern masterpiece of Villa Koivikko by Aarne Ervi and complementing it with a set of new buildings got its final touches in the summer and the villa has served well as a place of retreat and productive work during this past year of social distancing and remote work.
Located on a naturally beautiful site on a sloping hill by the Lake Pitkäjärvi about a half an hour ride from downtown Helsinki, Villa Koivikko provides an excellent set up for combining remote work and the ideal conditions for life surrounded by nature, a need that has been highlighted in an unexpected manner in the past year due to the ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our lives and ways of working. True to its original intended nature as a place of relaxation, the renovated complex now offers a place of retreat and contemplation with a sense of enjoyment of life.
Villa Koivikko, Sauna, image by Angel Gil
In the spring 2020 we were given the opportunity to embark work on a landmarked building of a very different kind, an extraordinary wooden mansion dating from 1900, Rauhalinna in the Savonlinna area. With its rich ornamentation and intricate detailing, it is a unique example of Russian style wooden manor houses in Finland. With a rare combination of Arabic influenced pillars and Swiss inspired decorative wood carved details set in a beautiful landscape, the manor is landmarked for historic preservation as a culturally and architecturally valuable milieu.
In order to bring new life to the Rauhalinna Manor as the active place of meetings and social life that it once used to be, the old mansion will be carefully restored and a new guest house will be built to accommodate the needs of visitors, and all together three new sauna buildings will be created. The aim is to improve the functionality of the manor in a way that recognizes and respects the unique qualities of the culturally remarkable milieu as a whole. Introducing a contemporary layer of architecture with a strong sculptural character of its own, an interesting dialogue between the richly ornamented old mansion and the new buildings is created. The intention is to allow the old and the new to engage in a conversation with each other as equal partners each with their own voice.
Rauhalinna, renovation of the wooden mansion from 1900 to be complemented with a new guesthouse made from CLT.
The work on Rauhalinna is expected to be completed in the summer 2021.
The Villa Ciutadellain Menorca, Spain is just in the final stages of completion and will be ready to receive its new residents in this new year. It is located within the very dense structure in the heart of Ciutadella, a historical city of with roots dating back to the time of the Carthaginians. It is a city rich in culturally and historically valuable sites on the island of Menorca. The Villa Ciutadella is built in a way that makes use of an existing structure of a building that had fallen into ill repair. By repairing parts of the existing structure and adding a new layer of architecture to it, the project transforms the old building into a modern villa that meets the contemporary standards of living.
Villa Ciutadella under construction, images by Marc Goodwin
During 2020 we have also had the pleasure to work on two exciting research projects that were both completed at the end of the year and will be presented and shared with the public in this new year: JOKOTAI Material Impact Screener and Timber Toolbox.Through these projects with a focus on research and development we have had a welcome chance to explore the various aspects of sustainability more deeply. The JOKOTAI Material Impact Screener is a web-based tool for assessing the environmental impact of our material choices in a building project at an early stage of the design process.
The Timber Toolbox, in turn, provides a library of tools for building with wood and highlights the various qualities of wood based on the local cultural heritage of building with wood, the material properties of wood, the development of contemporary timber systems, and the manifold potential for using wood in architectural design. Both projects deviate somewhat from the more typical architectural work of designing buildings. As slightly unusual projects, they have given us a great chance to reflect on the values and underlying assumptions behind our work as architects and designers.
JOKOTAI Material Impact Screener will be launched to the public in the coming spring.
During the past year there were some significant changes in the office as both the Helsinki and the Seinäjoki office got new team leaders, Iida Hedberg and Timo Etula. Right at the outset,they were presented with the unexpected challenge of figuring out how to best facilitate the teamwork of a team working remotely. The entire OOPEAA team deserves big thanks for their hard work during the unusual times and for the way in which they adjusted to the new situation with remarkable flexibility and an open minded attitude. Additional change was brought on during the spring when Kazunori Yamaguchi embarked to start on his own in Japan after seven years at OOPEAA. Anssi Lassila, the founder and director of OOPEAA, in turn, expanded his scope of work and influence through his new role as Professor of Practice in Contemporary Architecture at the University of Oulu.
We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to all our collaborators both in Finland and abroadfor the opportunity to work together during the exceptional year of 2020 and for the many inspiring exchanges of thoughtsand ideas that have informed our work during the year. We are looking forward to seeing the results of the workin the form of completed projects in this new year 2021 and to continued collaboration with all of you!
The Puuhi Community Space by OOPEAA in Soini welcomes the new year with a beautiful winter landscape covered in fresh white snow. With its fireplace ready to warm up the space to create a cozy atmosphere, it awaits a time when it is possible to gather together again.
To kick off the new year 2021, Puuhi is featured in ArchDaily. You can read the full article here.
Initiated by the villagers, Puuhi is a space for shared activity for the people of Soini. Designed as an off-grid building with no electricity it has a fireplace that can quickly warm up the open space of the wooden building with high ceilings. It has been intentionally designed so that it can be kept cold in the wintertime when not in use and can then easily be heated with a stove whenever there are activities.
The goal was to create a socially and ecologically sustainable wooden building of high architectural quality using local materials and drawing from local skills and resources. Anssi Lassila of OOPEAA, a native of Soini himself, was asked to design it, and the final buildingis a result of a seamless collaboration between him and a skilled local builder, Aki Alatalo.
The name, ‘Puuhi’, refers both to the word for a drying barn in the local dialect as well as to the purpose of the building as a place of many activities (puuha = activity). Puuhi is like a large farm shed. To accommodate the many different uses of the building, it is realized as one completely open space. The high ceilings of the wooden building provide for excellent acoustics for concerts and performances. The large front window gives the interior space a lot of light and creates a seamless connection between the interior and the exterior. The veranda and the yard further extend the space available for events.
Puuhi is located on a small farm near the Lake IIroo in Soini in the Finnish Ostrobothnia. The traditional red croft from the late 19thcentury on the farm was restored with volunteer labor and the new Puuhi building was built to replace the old sauna that was beyond repair. Drawing from the local tradition characterized by a sense of modesty and pride, the dark, sculpted shape of Puuhi stands in stark contrast to the old red croft. Together they form a place that lends itself to a broad range of activities from informal gatherings to performances of music, theater and art.
For a fuller description of the project, see here.
OOPEAA’s entry ”Kuhan” wins the land allocation competition for a new housing block in Äijälänsalmi, Jyväskylä. The design developed by OOPEAA proposes a community-oriented plan for urban living based on wood. Special emphasis is placed on creating a framework for a socially sustainable community by offering a broad range of apartment types to accommodate a variety of needs as well as by providing shared spaces for the residents to use. Responding to the contours of the terrain on the hilly site, the block is composed of buildings with varying heights. The project will be realized for the City of Jyväskylä in partnership with JVR-Rakenne, Dymont Installation and Dyco.
“Kuhan” was unanimously chosen as the winning entry by the competition jury, who praised it for its skillful treatment of the site and for the way in which it responds to the context of the city and the landscape by the lake. The jury further notes that combining a high-quality in the design of the apartment buildings and a solid knowhow in building with massive timber with a broad offering of different apartment types, the proposal excellently meets the goals of the competition. The block is built with a massive timber structure with prefabricated volumetric CLT modules, which offers the advantage of being light in weight and lends itself well to the special conditions of the site by the lake. The arrangement of the buildings on the site allows for all apartments to have a view to the lake.
To accommodate households of different sizes and formations, the block provides a variety of apartments ranging from town-house-like apartments to small studio apartments and to apartments with lofts in the upper floors. The design takes the human scale and the needs of the future residents of the block as its starting point. Making use of the material properties of massive wood and the technically advanced prefabrication process, the architecture of the new wooden block in Äijälänsalmi offers a technically efficient and sustainable solution based on renewable energy.
The block is composed of three buildings that together form a village-like community. Special attention has been paid to activating the ground floor level to support the formation of a sense of community among the residents. The entry to the buildings has intentionally been placed in the courtyard side instead of the street side and there is direct access from the town-house-like apartments to the yard. In the courtyard, there are sheltered green spaces for the community to use together. On the southern side of the yard there is a sauna for the residents to use along with a place for barbeque as well as an orchard. There is also a playground for children in the middle part of the yard.
Together with the terraces of the town-house-like units, a zone of balconies forms an integral part of the architecture of the block. Extending the space of the apartments, the terraces and balconies offer functional diversity and give an opportunity for urban gardening while also providing the apartments protection from direct sunlight. They also give the complex an active and lively expression by creating a semi-public zone that makes the lives of the residents visibly present in the appearance of the block. A range of individual actions by the residents in the space of their balconies and terraces gets woven into a rich and varied tapestry that forms the identity of the block as an urban community with a human scale.
The arrangement of the buildings in the block is designed to create optimal lighting conditions for both the yard and the apartments regardless of the tight block structure. The building on the south side of the block is lower than the other two behind it. The roof-scape is an important part of the architecture. It gives the block an identifiable character while simultaneously creating a warm atmosphere. The shape of the roof also makes it possible to realize the apartments in the upper floors as loft apartments. It gives the block a contemporary feel and links it to the continuity of contemporary wood architecture. While there are references to traditional wood buildings, the architecture of the block has a fresh feel. Making use of contemporary methods it responds to the needs of today.
The new book ‘An Architecture Guide to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals Volume 2’ focuses on the question of how architecture can contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Showing an extensive collection of projects in all scales and from all over the world, it demonstrates how architects and architecture can contribute to each of the Sustainable Development Goals.The examples illustrate that architecture can make significant contributions regardless of budget, location or resources available. The Puukuokka Housing Block is featured as an example of the goal number 17 that underlines the importance of partnership in achieving the goal of successful sustainable development to build sustainable communities.
The newly published book will be presented in an online book launch.
Book Launch: How architecture can contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
The 80 projects selected by the editorial board vary from large-scale political planning projects to small-scale interventions on a grass-roots level. All projects share a commitment to sustainable development and an ambition to achieve a significant impact in their respective local contexts. The editors hope that the guide will inspire students, architects, policy makers and other stakeholders to discuss how architecture can contribute to sustainable development by providing them with realized examples from around the world.
Neither the challenges nor the possibilities of the built environment should be underestimated. “We have to radically change the way we build. The built environment is a major consumer of energy and natural resources, and a producer of waste. Furthermore, how we build can exacerbate inequalities and affect health.With this book, we want to inspire architects and stakeholders to engage with both environmental and social challenges”, says Natalie Mossin, chief editor of the publication and Head of Institute of Architecture and Technology.
An Architecture Guide to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals volume 2 is published by the Royal Danish Academy – Architecture, Design, Conservation in partnership with the UIA Sustainable Development Goals Commission and the UIA World Congress of Architects 2023.
The Architecture Guide is the second edition, following a first edition published in 2018. In the book, each SDG is illustrated by 4-5 cases from all over the world. All cases are presented with a short description of the challenge related to the respective UN SDG and a description of the contribution that the given project is offering to the challenge. The purpose is to understand the Goals as they relate to architecture.
The guidebook is written and edited by Natalie Mossin, Sofie Stilling, Thomas Chevalier Bøjstrup, Ingeborg Christiane Hau, Christoffer Steensen Møller and Annette Blegvad.
For more information on the book, visit here.
Anssi Lassila is giving a talk on the use of timber in architecture as a sustainable solution at the Seminar on Sustainable House 2 in Tampere on October 3, 2020. The event is organized by the Pirkanmaa society for building culture, Pirkanmaan rakennuskulttuuriyhdistys ry and it isa sequel to the seminar on the same theme organized in the spring 2020.
The event is free of charge and open to all audiences. However, as space is limited to 50 participants, registration at firstname.lastname@example.org recommended. Seats will be made available on first-come-first-serve basis. The lectures are held in Finnish and the presentations will be streamed and made available to online audiences.
Timber Architecture as a Sustainable Option
October 3, 2020 at 16-17
As part of the seminar on
Kestävä Talo 2, hiilineutraaliuden aikakaudella
Sustainable House 2 in the Age of Carbon Neutrality
Seminar from 12 to 17
In the all-day seminar the following themes will be addressed: What are sustainable building practices like in the age of carbon neutrality? What kinds of natural building materials are available? How can they be applied in building and construction?
In his talk, Anssi Lassila will reflect on the potential of wood as a sustainable building material and discuss the broad range of different ways to use wood in architecture from traditional methods to new ways of working with engineered timber.
For more information in Finnish, see here.
OOPEAA has been commissioned to realize the restoration and renovation of the Rauhanlinna Manor in Savonlinna, Finland. With its rich ornamentation and intricate detailing, the Rauhanlinna mansion completed in 1900 is a unique example of Russian style wooden manor houses in Finland. With a rare combination of Arabic influenced pillars and Swiss inspired decorative wood carved details, the Rauhanlinna mansion with its surrounding parkland is landmarked for historic preservation as a culturally and architecturally valuable milieu. Today, it is in need of restoration and repair, and its new owners, Kyösti and Kari Kakkonen have decided to undertake a major restoration and renovation project to repair the main building as well as to bring the rest of the manor with its supporting buildings to contemporary standards.
In order to bring new life to the Rauhanlinna Manor as the active place of meetings and social life that it once used to be, a new guest house will be built to accommodate the needs of visitors and all together three new sauna buildings will be created. The old sauna by the lake will be replaced by a new one. In addition, the old stable building will be turned into a sauna, and one additional new sauna building will be built. The new additions will be designed by OOPEAA who will also be in charge of the restoration of the old main building. The project is realized in close collaboration with the National Board of Antiquities who is in charge of supervising the restoration of historical landmark buildings in Finland. The building permit for the project has now been granted and the restoration work along with the new construction has already started. The project as a whole is slated to be finished in the summer of 2021.
In the restoration and renovation project for the Rauhanlinna Manor, it is important to strike a balance between the unique character of the old mansion and the new buildings to be built. The goal is to create an interesting dialogue between the richly ornamented old mansion and the new buildings in a way that allows for both the old and the new to engage in a conversation as equal partners each with their own voice and tone. A new layer of architecture with a strong character of its own will be added in a way that respects the unique qualities of the culturally and historically valuable milieu as a whole. The mansion will be complemented with a set of new buildings that help to improve the functionality of the manor. Some of the buildings added in later years to the manor will be torn down and replaced with new ones while some of the supporting buildings will simply be fixed and upgraded to meet the contemporary standards.
The new guest house, Käenpoika (the Cuckoo Chick), introduces a contemporary layer of architecture to the Rauhanlinna Manor. With its strong sculptural form and red shingle cladding it engages in a dialogue with the other buildings in the yard. As a wooden building with a pitched roof, the new guest house brings together traditional methods of building and new ways of using wood. The loadbearing structure in the new building is of CLT (cross laminated timber). This makes it possible to realize the construction in a time efficient and ecologically sustainable manner. The use of shingles in the facade cladding is a traditional solution that binds the new building together with the historical nature of the manor. While the red color continues the traditional color palette of the wooden buildings on the yard, the decision to paint the shingles red strongly deviates from the tradition. Wood is strongly present also in the interiors of the guest house. The carefully designed composition of openings continues the theme of deliberately framed views that is characteristic to the old mansion. Like in the old mansion, also in the new guest house each room offers a different view into the surrounding landscape and has a unique atmosphere of its own.
The fall semester 2020 in the Contemporary Architecture Program at the Oulu School of Architecture will be kicked off by an open lecture on contemporary wood architecture by Anssi Lassila. The lecture is presented in the Contemporary Wood Architecture Lecture series organized by the Oulu School of Architecture and it is open to general audiences by registration. It is a required part of the curriculum for students participating in the course on Contemporary Wood Architecture. The lecture is open also for other students and faculty at the university to attend. The lecture will be held in Finnish and it will take place on zoom.
Trends in Contemporary Wood Architecture
September 14, 2020
Organized by Faculty of Architecture
Attendance is free for the students and faculty at the Oulu University. For participants outside of the university community, there is a fee. All audiences attending the lecture are required to register in order to obtain a link for following the lecture on Zoom.
The attendance quota for the lecture has been reached and the registration is now closed.
In his lecture, Anssi Lassila will address the qualities of wood and the potential offered by timber as a material for construction and for creating interesting architecture of high quality.
Later during the fall semester, Lassila’s lecture will be followed by three lectures in the Monday Matinee Program by other contemporary architects working with wood: Mikkel Bøgh of Effekt Architects, Copenhagen, Denmark; Minna Riska of MDH Architects, Oslo, Norway; and Thomas Robinson of Lever Architecture, Portland, Oregon, the United States.
Spring is the time for new beginnings. After almost seven years at OOPEAA, Kazunori Yamaguchi is now moving on to establish a practice of his own in Japan. While Kazunori will no longer be part of the day to day activities of the OOPEAA Team, we are looking forward to building a new relationship of collaboration with him. It is an exciting time of change and transition towards something new.
For us at OOPEAA the notion of the peripheral is an important starting point. That is why it is also included in the name of the office, OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture. We understand the notion of periphery to mean a space of possibility on the borderline between two different worlds. It is about a space and a moment of transition, of having been something and being about to become something more. As Kazunori moves towards something new in establishing his own practice in Japan now, in a true OOPEAA spirit we are looking forward to seeing how things evolve and what the future brings.
We thank Kazunori for his contribution over the past years as an employee of OOPEAA. We value his capability and courage to embrace new things in life. It was a big step for a young Japanese architect to decide to move to Finland in 2013. Now, in 2020, it is an equally big step for him to move back to Japan to establish his own practice. We look forward to new opportunities for fruitful collaboration with Kazunori and his new practice and wish him the best of success in his future endeavors.
We are happy to celebrate the topping out of the New Tikkurila Church today on March 4, 2020. The construction is progressing on schedule and the church is slated to be ready at the end of this year. It is commissioned by the Vantaa Parishes and realized as an alliance project together with the Vantaa Parishes, OOPEAA and Lujatalo.
Centrally located in Tikkurila, the new church building will form an identifying landmark for the neighborhood. It will have a strong presence in the streetscape. The multifunctional building is easily accessible by public transportation as well as by foot and by bicycle. Offering a range of flexibly adaptable spaces to accommodate a variety of uses, it will serve the community in many ways. In its maximum capacity, the main church hall will seat an audience of 500, and it will be possible to divide the space in different ways to allow for multiple simultaneous activities when needed. There will be workspace for up to 143 employees of the parish, and several meeting spaces of various sizes to serve the needs of the community. There will also be a café, a children’s corner, and a shop area. In the summer months, the yard of the church will provide a pleasant space for gatherings.
The personal experience of people has been an essential starting point for the architecture of the New Tikkurila Church. The human scale, accessibility, and life cycle sustainability have been central guiding principles in the design. The shape and the scale of the building follow these key principles. Around the entrances, the scale is lower and more moderate, making them inviting and approachable. It grows bigger and taller in the part containing the main church hall, reaching up high towards the light that enters into the space in a delicately subtle manner. In the interiors, the atmosphere is cozy and relaxed. In the choice of materials, longevity plays an important role. Burnt brick is one of the main materials used in the exterior, and dark roof tiles give character to the slanted roof. The chosen materials will age well and acquire a beautiful patina over time.
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.
The Puuhi Community Space by OOPEAA is featured in the ARK Magazine issue 1 / 2020. Puuhi is a space for meetings and shared activity for the people of Soini. It is a place for gatherings and events initiated by the villagers and created to meet the needs of the community. Social and ecological sustainability were key principles guiding the design of Puuhi. The goal was to create a wooden building of high architectural quality using local materials and drawing from local skills and resources. Kyläpääskyt, an association founded by the local community, wanted Anssi Lassila, founder and director of OOPEAA, a native of Soini himself, to take on the task of designing it.
Even if the building itself is small, it is of great significance to the villagers. It provides them with a place in which to come together to celebrate the rich culture and talent of the community. It offers a space that suits a varied range of activities from informal gatherings to performances of music, theater and art.
In Puuhi, the desire for creating a shared space for the community merges with the view of the architect. The seamless collaboration between the architect, the client and the builder were essential in achieving a successful final result. In the design process, only hand drawn sketches were made in addition to the legal drawings required for the building permit. From start to finish, the design evolved organically through a series of discussions between the architect and a skilled local builder, Aki Alatalo. The design and building phase proceeded in stages over a two-year span adjusting to the rhythm of the seasons. As the design progressed, it was flexibly modified in response to the arising needs and in accordance to the availability of materials.
The entire project was realized with a very small budget and a lot of the materials used were received as donations and recycled from local sources. For example, the stones used for the foundation are recycled from a burnt down school in the nearby Hautakylä village, and the stairs of the terrace are made of larch trees felled from the yard of the old vicarage saved from being turned into firewood and donated to the project by the architect himself.
Puuhi is located on a small farm with some fields and a little bit of forest land around it near the Lake IIroo in Soini in the Finnish Ostrobothnia. There was a croft from the late 19thcentury as well as a sauna on the lot. As part of the project for building a new house for the community, the old red croft was partially restored with volunteer labor. However, it was not possible to repair the sauna anymore, and the new Puuhi building was built in its place. The dark, sculpted shape of the new Puuhi building stands in stark contrast to the old red croft. The form language of Puuhi draws from the local tradition of building that is characterized by a sense of modesty and pride. Together the old red croft and the new Puuhi building form a place that lends itself to a broad range of different kinds of activity.
The name of the house, Puuhi, refers both to the word used in the local dialect in the northern Ostrobothnia for a drying barn as well as to the purpose of the building as a place of many activities (puuha = activity). Puuhi is like a large farm shed. To accommodate the many different uses of the building, the interior is realized as one completely open space with no dividing walls. The high ceilings of the wooden building provide for excellent acoustics and suit very well for concerts and performances. The veranda and the yard extend the space available for events. There is also a storage space for storing benches and other supplies.
The wooden surfaces of the building have deliberately been left untreated and the texture of the spruce planks sawn by hand has been left visible in the interior walls. A light layer of anti-molding agent was used in the wall boarding and the floor was rubbed with tall oil soap to keep dirt from sticking to it. For consistency, the interior walls of the veranda were made of the same hand-sawn spruce planks as the interior walls. The roof, in turn, was covered with the same kind of spruce boarding as the exterior walls, and both were tarred black.
Puuhi is an off-grid building with no electricity. The wooden house has been intentionally designed so that in it can be kept cold in the wintertime when not in use and can then easily be heated with a stove when there are activities there. The large front window on the long wall of the building opens to the yard giving the interior space a lot of light and creating a seamless connection between the interior and the exterior.
For a fuller description of Puuhi, see here.