Four projects by OOPEAA have been selected to be presented in the exhibition “In Therapy” in the Nordic Pavilion at the Architecture Biennale in Venice 2016.

Puukuokka will be featured as one of the nine projects to be highlighted as uniquely representative of the contemporary Nordic scene.

In addition, House Riihi, Sauna Tonttu and the Kuokkala Church will be presented in the exhibition as part of the survey of contemporary Nordic architecture.

About the Exhibition

In Therapy: Nordic Countries Face to Face is curated by David Basulto of ArchDaily with James Taylor-Foster as assistant curator. It relates to Alejandro Aravena’s overall theme of the 2016 Venice Biennale “Reporting From the Front”, focusing on specific challenges being faced in the Nordic region. 

The exhibition uses the structure of Abraham Maslow’s 1954 ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ as an analytical lens and an observational springboard from which to explore and investigate architectural projects that have been instrumental in constructing contemporary Nordic society. The projects to be included in the exhibition were selected on the basis of their contribution to the current condition of Nordic society.

The Nordic participation at the Venice biennale is a collaboration between the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Helsinki, the National Museum’s Department of Architecture, Oslo, and ArkDes – the Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design, Stockholm.

You can find the press release on the exhibition here 

OOPEAA Projects in the Exhibition

Puukuokka (2016) will be examined in depth as an example of Finnish architecture in the category Foundational, which focuses on architecture that cares for basic needs, encompassing (but not limited to) shelter, healthcare, and educational facilities. 

House Riihi (2014) will be presented as one of the projects in the larger survey of contemporary Nordic architecture in the category Foundational.

Kuokkala Church (2010) is included in the category Belonging, which highlights architecture that enacts public programs and creates public space in which society gathers; the places where individuals become citizens and relate to one another. This includes (but is not limited to) sacred spaces, civic (institutional, cultural and recreational), workplace (office and retail), and infrastructural projects.

Sauna Tonttu (2010) will be presented in the category Recognition, which showcases architecture that recognizes and reflects upon certain processes in Nordic society, and its values. As the embodiment of a highly developed nation, projects that fall into this category have a reflective position on society and highlight its latent values (including but not limited to monuments, memorials, and projects which engage with the natural landscape).

Read More About the Projects


Puukuokka is the first eight-story high wooden apartment building in Finland. It explores the potential of CLT construction to meet the goal of providing high quality, environmentally responsible and affordable housing. Puukuokka pilots an innovative lease-to-own financing strategy that aims to promote stable communities. 

The use of prefabricated modules made it possible to achieve a high quality end result by cutting the construction time on-site down to six months and by reducing the exposure to weather conditions. It also made it possible to create a 26 meters tall building with a primary load bearing structure and frame fully made of CLT modules.

Puukuokka is acknowledged for providing a forward looking solution that helps to create a less stressful living environment while also promoting local work opportunities in Finland. It is recognized for its special acoustic qualities, the good indoor air quality, and the low energy consumption in heating. 

Find more information on Puukuokka here

House Riihi

House Riihi is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional arrangement of a farm. With several houses together forming a sheltered yard, it creates an optimal microclimate by minimizing the impact of the northerly winds. It also brings living and working together in one. With its shape and materials, it enters into a dialogue with the surrounding landscape. The view that opens into the fields is an important part of the experience. The positioning of the house is carefully considered so as not to disturb the delicate balance of the historical farm landscape. 

The choice of materials and technical solutions create an ecological and recyclable low energy building. The entity can be heated with its four heat-retaining fireplaces, which also provide hot water for the house. The lighting system is supplied with solar power. It is possible to live in the house without being dependent on the power, water and drainage grids.

Find more information on House Riihi here

Kuokkala Church

Kuokkala Church is a building with a distinctly contemporary look, yet it is strongly rooted in the local building tradition and takes its place in the continuum of the history of sacral spaces. It provides people in the local community with a space to gather in for festive occasions imbued with symbolic relevance in a person’s life, such as baptizing, weddings and funerals, as well as a place to come together for everyday activities, such as activities for children and youth. There is even a cinema club operating in the building. Reflecting the democratic values and non-religious orientation of the Finnish society, it serves not only a religious function but also one of a community center providing social services to all regardless of denomination. With its strong visual presence, the building also serves as an important landmark for the suburban neighborhood giving it a sense of identity of its own.

Find more information on the Kuokkala Church here

Sauna Tonttu

Sauna is an important part of Finnish culture. It has a deep ritual function that is not only about the purification of mind and body but also about relaxation and health. In the Nordic climate bathing in the warmth of the sauna combined with a refreshing dip into cool water has historically served an important role in helping people maintain their health. Traditionally the sauna is located in a separate building away from the house making the way to the sauna part of the preparation for the ritual of cleansing.

Sauna Tonttu enters into a delicate dialogue with its surrounding landscape. It carries the mark of times past giving a new lease of life to an old granary from the 19th century. The original logs have been complemented with new ones with the color of the wood revealing its age. In renovating the old building, traditional handcraft methods were employed. 

Find more information on Sauna Tonttu here