Springtime brings changes at OOPEAA

posted on April 28th 2020 in News

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.


Topping out of the New Tikkurila Church on March 4, 2020

posted on March 4th 2020 in News

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.


Puuhi Community Space Featured in ARK Magazine

posted on February 26th 2020 in News

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.


Katharina Heidkamp giving a lecture on the Puukuokka Housing at the Holzbau 2020 in Augsburg, Germany on February 21, 2020

posted on February 19th 2020 in News

Katharina Heidkamp of OOPEAA will give a lecture on the Puukuokka Housing at the Holzbau 2020 Conference in Augsburg, Germany on February 21, 2020. The conference is organized by the Institute for Building and Housing at the University of Applied Sciences, Augsburg.


Katharina Heidkamp, OOPEAA

Puukuokka Housing – The Potential of Wood as a Sustainable Building Material

February 21, 2020 at 14:45

Holzbau 2020 Conference

Holzbau Raummodule: Neue Wege Für Architectur und Handwerk

Handwerkskammer für Schwaben

Siebentischstraße 52

58 86161 Augsburg


The conference will last all day from 8:30 to 16:00.  All lectures are in German. To register to attend, please visit www.hs-augsburg.de/ibi

This year the Holzbau conference focuses on the application of prefabricated space modules and the use of wood in architecture. The majority of the speakers at the conference come from the German speaking countries, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. OOPEAA has been invited to present the case of Puukuokka as an example illustrating the potential for high quality and individual architectural expression that may be reached when skilfully applying prefabricated volumetric modules for multi-storey housing in wood.

Katharina Heidkamp will present the Puukuokka Housing in a lecture focusing on the potential of wood as a sustainable building material. Katharina Heidkamp has been a member of the OOPEAA Team since 2017. In her work she has a special focus on sustainability in architecture, and she is currently engaged in the Life Cycle Visualizer research and development project initiated and led by OOPEAA. The project is supported by funding from the Ministry of Environment, Finland as part of their Growth from Wood Program. The goal of the project is to develop an early assessment tool for evaluating the environmental impact of alternative material and structural choices in a building project.

Other speakers in the Holzbau 2020 conference include Harald Heusser, Director of Building at the City of Heidelberg, Germany, Johannes Kaufmann, Executive Director at the Johannes Kaufmann Architects in Dornbirn and Vienna, Austria, Mathias Kaufmann, Director of the Kaufmann Woodworks in Reuthe, Austria, Karin Merz of the Baurat Architects and Planners in Bern, Switzerland, Konrad Merz, Executive Director of Merz Kley Partners in Dornbirn, Austria, and Thomas Wehrle, Vice Director of ERNE AG Holzbau in Laufenburg, Switzerland.

The members of the Steering Committee for the conference are Professor Ph.D. Francois Collin, Professor Wolfgang Huss, Professor Ph.D. Elisabeth Krön, and Engineer Katrin Freitag.

For more information on the conference and for the full program, see here


New Team Leaders Appointed for the OOPEAA Offices in Helsinki and Seinäjoki

posted on February 10th 2020 in News

Starting in February 2020, two new team leaders will be working together with Anssi Lassila, founder and director of OOPEAA as members of the newly formed OOPEAA Steering Group. Together the steering group will help focus the development of the office to respond in meaningful ways to the call for creating high-quality architecture that is both socially and ecologically sustainable and places the human being at the center.

Iida Hedberg will be responsible for coordinating the development and management of the OOPEAA Helsinki office. Timo Etula will be responsible for coordinating the development and management of the OOPEAA Seinäjoki office.


Iida Hedberg, Team Leader, OOPEAA Helsinki

Iida Hedberg has been a member of the OOPEAA Team since 2012. She holds a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Tampere University of Technology School of Architecture (2014). She is a solid professional with wide ranging experience of projects of diverse scales and various levels of complexity. Her work as project architect at OOPEAA includes the Puukuokka Housing Block, the Suvela Chapel, the Karlsson Housing in Jätkäsaari, the New Tikkurila Church, and the Villa Koivikko.


Timo Etula, Team Leader, OOPEAA Seinäjoki

Timo Etula has been a member of the OOPEAA Team since 2016. He holds a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Oulu University School of Architecture (2012). He has ample experience in the design of learning environments and in housing design. His work as project architect at OOPEAA includes the Taika Kindergarten, the Seilori and Laivuri Apartments in Vaasa, Laivuri apartments Vaasa, and the Suuruspää Neighborhood in Jyväskylä.



Place NOW – Regionalism in the 2020s Seminar in Oulu on January 25, 2020

posted on January 24th 2020 in News

Anssi Lassila is joining as a panelist in the Place NOW – Regionalism in the 2020s seminar in Oulu tomorrow. The seminar focuses on examining regionalism in architecture from a contemporary viewpoint. The event is organized by the jeesjeesgood collective and it takes place at the Kulttuuritalo Valve. The seminar is free and open to all.


Place NOW – Regionalism in the 2020s

Seminar and discussion

Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 16:00 – 19:00

Kulttuuritalo Valve

Hallituskatu 7

90100 Oulu


In the seminar on Saturday, there will be three short lectures presenting three different points of view on regionalism today followed by a panel discussion. Anni Vartola, Senior Lecturer at the Aalto University will give a talk under the title “Dialects instead of an Esperanto of Architecture – Perspectives on Cultural Engagement”.  Anna-Maija Ylimaula, Professor Emerita will discuss the legacy of the Oulu School under the title “The Oulu School Lives On”. Finally, Virve Väisänen of LUO Architects will provide reflections on regionalism today under the topic “Regionalism in the 2020s”

The three presentations will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Anni Vartola. Anja-Kaisa Ylimommo, Lauri Louekari and Anssi Lassila will join the presenters in the panel.

The seminar will be complemented by an excursion of select architecture sites in Oulu on Sunday, January 26, 2020 starting at 10:00 and lasting until 13:00. The excursion will include a tour of the Oulunsalo Council House guided by Kari Niskasaari and Jouko Leskinen and a visit to the Pitkäkangas School guided by Martti Karsikas and Hanna-Maija Tervo.

For registration and for more information see here.



Anssi Lassila appointed Professor of Practice, Contemporary Architecture at the Oulu School of Architecture

posted on January 13th 2020 in News

Anssi Lassila, Director and Founder of OOPEAA, has been appointed Professor of Practice, Contemporary Architecture at the Oulu School of Architecture. He will assume his position on February 1, 2020. The position was filled by invitation and the appointment is for a five-year term.

Established in 1959, the Oulu School of Architecture is the northernmost school of architecture in the world, and one of three schools of architecture in Finland. The school has a particular focus on addressing and researching sustainability in the Northern climate and on developing new ways of building with wood. It is also the alma mater of Anssi Lassila, and it is with great enthusiasm that he takes on the new role as professor at the school. As Professor of Practice in Contemporary Architecture he will be in charge of the teaching unit dedicated to contemporary architecture. He will be responsible for teaching the 4th and 5th year students in the Master’s degree program in architecture.

The University of Oulu is an international science university with a community of 13 000 students and 2900 employees. Founded in 1958, it is today one of the biggest and the most multidisciplinary universities in Finland. The university consists of eight faculties and many specialized research units.

The Oulu School of Architecture provides architectural education on the highest academic level, from a BA level degree program to a two-year master’s degree program and a Ph.D. program in architecture. With its 300 domestic and international degree students, the school is a vital and dynamic unit within one of Finland’s largest universities. The Oulu School of Architecture has four teaching units: History of Architecture and Restoration studies, Contemporary Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, and Building Performance and Construction.

The study program is design-oriented and the courses are taught by professionals with wide range of expertise in the field of architecture and urban design. Professors of the school are internationally recognized architects actively involved in the profession and in the architectural debate both in Finland and internationally. Studies are carried out both individually and in multicultural teams in an international working environment. The surrounding Nordic nature, climate and light circumstances offer a living laboratory for experiments in 1:1 scale. Varying courses and additional study options give possibilities to integrate student competitions or workshops in the student’s individual study plan. The degree awarded is an architect’s professional degree, providing the right to practice the architect’s profession in Finland and the European Union according to the national laws and decrees.

For more information on the Oulu School of Architecture, see here


Japanese Company Obayashi is Joining as Partner in the OOPEAA Initiated Life Cycle Visualizer Project

posted on December 20th 2019 in News

The Japanese Construction Company Obayashi is joining as an international partner in Life Cycle Visualizer project initiated by OOPEAA. It is a research and development project for creating an early assessment tool for evaluating the impact of material and structural choices on the sustainability of a building. The aim is to provide a tool that can be used in the early stages of concept design in order to help to guide the design process. The collaboration with Obayashi will provide a Japanese perspective to the project. This will complement the European perspective to sustainable building provided by OOPEAA. The partnership with Obayashi also brings a valuable contribution to the project by offering a constructor’s insight to the building process.

The Life Cycle Visualizer tool is about visualizing and making transparent basic information regarding a building project. The intention is not to create a tool for providing a full life cycle analysis. Instead, the goal is to create a web-based tool to be used in the early stages of the design process prior to having made decisions that at a later stage will make it possible to perform a proper life cycle analysis. The tool makes it possible for designers, clients and all parties involved in the early decision-making process of a building project to better comprehend the impact of alternative material and structural choices on the sustainability of the project, and to communicate about it in an easily understandable, visual manner.

Obayashi Corporation is one of five major Japanese construction companies. Its headquarters are in Minato, Tokyo and it is one of the Nikkei 225 corporations. Established in 1892 in Osaka,the company operates in Japan and 13 other countries, especially Southeast Asia and Australia, as well as the United States and Europe. Major landmarks built by Obayashi in Japan include KyotoStation Building, Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) Center as well as TOKYO SKYTREE, a broadcasting and observation tower that was the world’s tallest structure at the time of its completion in 2012 with a height of 634 meters.Obayashi has 86subsidiaries and 26 affiliated companies in Japan, Europe, The Middle East Asia, Australia and North America. It is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The research and development project for creating the Life Cycle Visualizer tools is supported by a grant awarded by the Ministry of Environment, Finland. The grant is part of the Growth and Development from Wood Program.

For more information about the Life Cycle Visualizer project, see here.

For more information about Obayashi, see here.

For more information about the Growth and Development from Wood Program, see here


OOPEAA Research

posted on December 18th 2019 in News

We have updated our home page to share our thinking behind some of our most recent research projects. There is an ongoing focus on research and development at OOPEAA. It is a great a tool for creating innovative solutions and developing new ways of thinking. We are interested in exploring the potential for finding optimal solutions that support both the social and ecological aspects of sustainability while simultaneously being economically efficient in a long-term perspective.

You can find more about our research projects here.



In recent years, our interest in finding ways to optimize the use of material and create solutions that are architectonically and technically sustainable has led to our involvement in research projects with a focus on sustainability. Most recently, we have initiated a research and development project for a web based evaluation tool to assess the impact of the material and structural choices on the ecological sustainability of a building project that could be used already in the early stages of concept design in order to help to guide the design process. The working name for the tool is Life Cycle Visualizer. The research and development project for creating the Life Cycle Visualizer tool is realized under the leadership of OOPEAA as an international collaboration. It is carried out with the support of a grant awarded by the Ministry of Environment, Finland. The grant is part of the Growth and Development from Wood Program.

More information on the Life Cycle Visualizer, a tool for evaluating sustainability can be found  here.


Modular Timber Construction

At OOPEAA there is also an ongoing focus on exploring the potential of modularity and the application of mass timber as a sustainable solution to the needs of urban housing and public buildings. Since the fire regulations were changed in Finland in 2011 to allow for multi-story wooden construction, OOPEAA has been involved in developing new modular construction systems making use of timber. Working with wood and mass timber to explore its potential for developing ecologically and socially sustainable solutions to the contemporary needs of urban housing and public buildings is a key focus in the work of the office. We are also interested in developing new systems of flexibly customizable modularity.

The Puukuokka Block by OOPEAA is an illustration of the potential of a system of volumetric modules made of CLT in creating multi-story apartment buildings with a fully wooden frame and structure. The Global Concept for the Allas Sea Pool Family developed by OOPEAA is an example of applying the modular principle in a scalable concept with the capacity for flexible adaptation for sites in different parts of the world. Koota is a new wooden housing block to be built in Porvoo, a small historical city with a significant heritage of wooden buildings from the 19th century. It explores the potential of new methods of timber construction in providing a contemporary addition to the tradition of wooden housing. It creates a new solution for urban living in a way that is both ecologically and socially sustainable and promotes a sense of community amongst the residents.

For more information on our work on exploring the potential of modular timber construction, see here.


Urban Vision and Toolbox

Today, shopping centers with retail services clustered in locations outside of the city center present a challenge to the traditional understanding of the livelihood of cities as places of commerce. However, cities as urban places are really about much more than about just shopping and retail services. People need services, cafes, restaurants, offices and places of work, and above all, they need places that support social interaction, places where to meet friends, skateboard, play ball, do barbeque, and just simply to live in the everyday.

The Vision and Toolbox for the Future Seinäjoki City Center was published in the form of a book in November 2019. It provides a framework for developing the city as a socially sustainable, active and green place with a human scale. An Urban Toolbox of architectural tools specifically designed for developing the city as a well-balanced urban place is a key element of the Vision for the Future City. It provides a wide-ranging palette of tools for architectural interventions of various scales to be applied in various combinations depending on the context and the desired effect. The goal is to create a city that provides an accessible and inclusive urban place for people to live and work in and offers a richly layered and well-balanced environment for future growth.

The Vision has been deliberately formulated to serve as an inspiration rather than as a set of guidelines and instructions. It presents a library of possible alternative ways of doing things and illustrates the potential of interventions of various scales to support the city in its future growth in a way that makes it a place in which people feel good to live and work in. It aspires to inspire people to make their city the best possible place it can be.

While the vision was created to address the needs of the Seinäjoki City Center, the sixth fastest growing city in Finland, the Urban Toolbox offers a set of tools that can be applied to other cities as well. It is the result of a two-year research process of urban analysis and conceptual development realized by OOPEAA in collaboration with Gehl as an expert on matters of the social dynamics of urban public space. It was commissioned by the City of Seinäjoki. A series of three workshops gave also the citizens of Seinäjoki an opportunity to actively engage in the process.

For more information about the Urban Vision and Toolbox, see here.






Celebrating the Ground-Breaking of the Tikkurila Bethania Housing Today 

posted on December 11th 2019 in News

The project for the New Tikkurila Church and the adjoining Bethania Housing is entering into a new phase as the construction for the housing begins. The ground-breaking for the part of the block providing affordable housing commissioned by the Vantaa Parishes was celebrated today.

The Tikkurila Bethania Housing offers a combination of student housing and apartments for affordable housing. The total number of apartments in the block will be 224 apartments, of which 162 will be for students commissioned by HOAS and 62 will be built by the Vantaa Parish. There will also be a generous array of shared spaces for the residents to use together as well as commercial spaces on the ground floor level.

The construction of the Tikkurila Bethania Housing is slated to be completed in the spring of 2021 for the new residents to move in. With the inauguration of the church planned for the Christmas time in 2020, the entire block comprising the housing and the church will be complete in the spring of 2021. The church building will offer a wide palette of services for people in the Tikkurila community. It will also provide a variety of as spaces for gathering and spending time together ranging from a cafe open to all to meeting spaces to be booked for small scale events. The main church hall will also provides a flexibly adjustable event space with a capacity to seat an audience of a maximum of 500 people.

The Bethania Housing is jointly commissioned by the Vantaa Parishes and by HOAS, the Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region. The New Tikkurila Church is commissioned by the Vantaa Parishes.

For more information on the Tikkurila Bethania Housing and the New Tikkurila Church, see here