The London Festival of Architecture celebrates London as the global hub for architecture. This year, the festival focuses on the theme of ‘care’. Presenting a lively and diverse programme of public events both in various destinations across London as well as online, it runs from 1-30 June, 2021.
During the pandemic, public interest in understanding health and physical resilience has exploded. Sauna bathing, outdoor swimming, cold water immersion and breathwork, are examples of activities that have attracted a lot of attention as activities with health improving potential.
In an event organized by the British Sauna Society, a panel of four architects, designers and writers will explore the relationship between our built environment and wellbeing. In a discussion under the title “New Architecture of Wellbeing – Sauna for the Rescue” renowned sauna architects and designers share their views and experience on the topic. The panel addresses questions regarding the potential of the role of architecture in supporting these age-old wellbeing rituals in the contemporary world.
- Anssi Lassila
- The Architecture of Saunas Today – Building on a Long Tradition
- Panel Discussion
- The New Architecture of Wellbeing – Sauna for the Rescue
- June 8, 2021 at 18:30 (GMT+1)
- London Architecture Festival – Online
Anssi Lassila of OOPEAA will be joined in the panel by Christie Pearson (CA), author of “The Architectures of Bathing – Body, Landscape, Art”, Jane Withers (UK), leading design consultant, curator, and writer Mikkel Aaland (US / NO), author of “Sweat” and TV series “Perfect Sweat”. The panel discussion is moderated by Wendy Liu and Mika Meskanen.
The panel discussion is held online. For more information on the event, see here.
The event is free. However, registration is required to attend. For tickets and booking, see here.
The London Festival of Architecture began in 2004, and has since grown to become the world’s largest annual architecture festival. The festival attracts a vast public audience – well over 800,000 people in 2019 – and a global media audience of millions.
For more information and the full program of the London Architecture Festival 2021, see here.
Anssi Lassila is participating in a panel discussion on the Art of Transformation in the Perspective Virtual Forum on Architecture and Interior Design on May 18-19, 2021. The event is organized by THE PLAN.
- Anssi Lassila, OOPEAA
- The Art of Transformation
- Panel Discussion
- Perspective Virtual Forum on Central and Eastern Europe
- May 18 at 6 pm CET
Exploring design strategies for shaping interactions and redefining spatial boundaries and functional programs, the panel is chaired by Thorsten Helbig, Co-founder of Knippers Helbig. Anssi Lassila, Founder and Director of OOPEAA will be joined in the discussion by Philip Samyn, Founder of Samyn and Partners, and Giuseppe Farris, Founder of Studio Farris.
The panel discussions are free and open to the public. However, registration is required to attend online as audience.
For registration, please go here.
The Perspective Virtual Forum features a rich programme of one-to-one face-to-face business meetings and virtual conferences with prime speakers focusing on contemporary trends and up-to-date topics in architecture and design. It is the second online event in the series of the Perspective Virtual Forums organised by THE PLAN.
A program of panel discussions addressing current issues in architecture and involving leading figures in architecture and design on an international scale will open and close each day of Forum. The panel discussions feature a rich array of participants including Dietrich|Untertrifaller, JOI-Design, A10 Architects, Berger+Parkkinen, OOPEAA, Samyn and Partners, Studio Farris, KWK Promes, Powerhouse Company, Hadi Teherani, Ippolito Fleitz Group, Studio Modijefsky and INNOCAD architecture.
For more information on the event and a detailed program, see here.
For a recent interview of Anssi Lassila on the use of wood in architecture for a sustainable and technological future published in THE PLAN Magazine, see here.
The restored and renovated Villa Koivikko is featured in the April issue of the Finnish Architectural Review dedicated to theme of Tradition and Renewal.
Villa Koivikko is a landmarked masterpiece of modernism from the 1950s originally designed by Aarne Ervi, one of the key figures in shaping the functionalist movement in Finland. In the project, the modernist villa and the caretaker’s house by Ervi were carefully restored and three new wooden buildings designed by OOPEAA were added to complement the brick buildings from 1958. In its current restored and renovated form, the Villa Koivikko provides a balanced combination of the best qualities of modernist architecture from the 1950s and the comfort of contemporary wooden buildings.
The project is particularly timely at this moment in time. It addresses the challenge of taking care of the heritage of modern architecture. The masterpieces of modernism are now gradually reaching an age that calls for restoration and care. New solutions are needed to allow the buildings designed in the post war era to meet the needs of their contemporary users. True to its original intended nature as a place of relaxation, the renovated complex of Villa Koivikko now offers an excellent place for withdrawing from the busy life of the city and for contemplation and concentration in peace and quiet surrounded by nature.
The boldly experimental modernist villa by Ervi was designed to represent the forward looking ideal of the modern times and it was equipped with the most advanced technical systems of the time. Many of the newly developed technical solutions and materials embraced by Ervi in the 1950s, however, have now come to the end of their performance. Despite the material and technical deterioration over time, the buildings by Ervi have not lost their strong aesthetical appeal. The contemporary additions by OOPEAA highlight the special qualities of Ervi’s original design. With a strong character of its own, OOPEAA’s design enters into a dialogue with Ervi’s modernist architecture and opens new ways of experiencing it. Embracing the relationship between architecture and landscape, OOPEAA’s design provides a new sense of balance to the experience of the estate.
What is common to both Ervi and OOPEAA is their interest in exploring the qualities of materials and in experimenting with new building techniques as well as their skill in working with the relationship between the building and its surrounding landscape. However, what distinguishes them from each other is the material palette and their attitude towards natural building materials and traditional building methods. OOPEAA is known for their keen interest in the natural qualities of materials and for their skill in bridging tradition with the contemporary. The aim was to integrate the new buildings seamlessly into the composition of the landscape as an integral part of it. In their architecture, the new buildings do not mimic the language of the existing buildings, nor do they intend to stand in discord with it. Instead, they create a dialogue of contrasting elements and open new ways of seeing and experiencing the relationship between the landscape and the buildings.
To read the article on the Villa Koivikko in the Finnish Architectural Review, see here.
For more information on the Villa Koivikko, see here.
The restoration and renovation project including the addition of three new buildings by OOPEAA to the Villa Koivikko, a landmarked masterpiece of modernism has been nominated for the 2022 edition of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award.
The project for Villa Koivikko addresses the challenge of taking care of the heritage of modern architecture and responds to the quest for new solutions that allow the modernist buildings to meet the contemporary needs. It is an excellent example of how new buildings can successfully be added to the context of a historically and architecturally valuable landmark. It creates something entirely new while simultaneously complementing the existing architecture and helping it maintain its functionality in face of the changing times.
Anssi Lassila of OOPEAA is the architect in charge of the restoration, renovation and extension of the Villa Koivikko. The project was carried out under the supervision of the landmark authorities. The interior design was skillfully executed by Perta Majantie who also served as the client’s representative on the project and played an important role in the work. The landscape design was developed in close partnership with VSU Landscape Architects. The role of the Punavuoren puuhevonen as carpenters to realize the cabinetry and wooden detailing for the project was also significant in contributing to the successful end result.
In the project, the modernist villa and the caretaker’s house by Aarne Ervi, a respected master of functionalism in Finland, were carefully restored and three wooden buildings were added to complement the brick buildings from 1958. Following a detailed study of the original drawings, the landmarked buildings were restored, and the technical systems updated. The living space in the caretaker’s house was expanded and a new geothermal heating system was installed. The built-in garage was replaced by a free-standing car-shed, a new sauna was built in place of the old one, and a writer’s studio was built on top of the old stone cellar.
The new buildings have a strong sculptural character, and their material qualities highlight the modernist buildings. With their natural materials, dark outer shell, pitched roofs and traditional building methods, they stand in stark contrast to the strong horizontal lines, white surfaces, flat roofs and modern building techniques of Ervi’s buildings. Clad with traditional tarred shingles, the new car-shed and the writer’s studio take on a strong presence. Yet, treated with dark natural paint or tar, they withdraw from the center of attention almost blending in with nature. Highlighting the exposed structure, the light color of spruce in the interiors gives them a sense of warmth. The detailing is either of steel with a black matte finish, or of copper. The sauna is built with logs with a tailormade joint and has a green roof. Embracing the relationship between architecture and landscape, OOPEAA’s design provides a new sense of balance to the experience of the estate.
For more information on the Villa Koivikko, see here.
For more information on the projects nominated for the Mies Award 2022, see here.
For the Mies Award 2022 nomination of the Villa Koivikko, see here.
The new Tikkurila Church was inaugurated yesterday, on Sunday, January 24, 2021. The Sunday morning inauguration mass was televised in order to make it possible to share it with people. In the evening, the inauguration celebrations continued with a concert with Reino Nordin.
In the coming weeks, there will also be guided tours in the church to allow people to get a look of the new church with all the various spaces and services that it provides for the community. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions on access to public spaces prompted by the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not possible to open the church fully to the public at this time. However, to book a visit to the church, you can register for a tour here.
With a strong character of its own, the New Tikkurila Church is an identifiable landmark in downtown Tikkurila. It provides a place of calm and contemplation for people to withdraw from the busy activities of the daily life. It is also a multifunctional building with spaces designed to be easily adapted and altered according to the changing needs of the community. The skillful handling of the materials and fine treatment of the detailing play a key role in the successful end result in the exceptionally demanding project. We are very happy to see the long process of designing and building the New Tikkurila Church to be brought to a conclusion now.
Centrally located in Tikkurila, the new church takes on a strong presence in the streetscape. The multifunctional building is easily accessible by public transportation as well as by foot and by bicycle. It houses a range of flexibly adaptable spaces to accommodate a variety of uses. Like the pine trees in the Finnish forest, the main church hall reaching up to a height of 14-15 meters. In its maximum capacity, the main church hall seats an audience of 500, and it is be possible to divide the space in different ways to allow for multiple simultaneous activities when needed. The building also provides workspace for approximately 140 employees and offers several meeting spaces of various sizes to serve the needs of the community. There is also 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 project for the new church for the Tikkurila community was commissioned by the Finnish and Swedish speaking parishes in Vantaa and realized as an alliance project by OOPEAA together with Lujatalo and the Vantaa Parishes. The fruitful collaboration between all the parties involved with each bringing their own perspective and knowhow to the project shows that with teamwork it is possible to meet even the highest expectations.
You can find more information on the New Tikkurila Church here.
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 email@example.com 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.