Puukuokka by OOPEAA awarded Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2015

We are proud to announce that the Puukuokka Housing Block designed by OOPEAA has been selected winner of the Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2015.

This year composer Kaija Saariaho has acted as the judge to select the winner from among five finalists. She describes her decision in the following words: “I chose Puukuokka as the winner because it demonstrates values that I appreciate in life as well as in architecture: it is a courageous and ambitious work that brings together an exploration of new possibilities for building and construction, a humane sensibility, and a quest for ecological solutions as well as a strive towards better quality of life.”

Saariaho deems all of the five shortlisted buildings interesting, beautiful and elegant, and notes that they are each a result of carefully researched solutions. Therefore, her decision for the selection of the winner was made based on a comprehensive judgement of the overall qualities of the work: “I chose a building that intuitively appeals to me and reflects the values I appreciate in life and the goals I have set for myself in my work. The chance to visit the home of a resident and to hear her share her thoughts and experience about how comfortable the apartment is to live in, and about the superior qualities of the sound isolation in the wooden building, further convinced me. I could sense the intimate warmth of the building right upon entering. The views into the surrounding landscape that open up in different directions in the spacious hallway are impressive. Puukuokka is a building that I felt most comfortable in with all my senses.” 

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Completed in November 2014, Puukuokka is the first eight-storey high wooden apartment building in Finland. It explores the potential of modular prefabricated CLT construction to meet the goal of providing high quality, environmentally responsible and affordable housing. Commissioned and built by Lakea, it is an energy-efficient trio of multi-story wood-framed flats in the Jyväskylä suburb of Kuokkala. Puukuokka is composed of prefabricated volumetric modules made of cross-laminated timber (CLT) provided by Stora Enso, who is also responsible for the structural engineering of the CLT modules. JVR Rakenne has served as the prime contractor. The town plan created in collaboration with the City of Jyväskylä has been tailored to meet the needs of the building complex. It has made it possible to count only part of the shared spaces as included in the permitted building volume.


The Finlandia Prize for Architecture

The Finlandia Prize for Architecture was established in 2011 by SAFA, the Finnish Association of Architects. The Finlandia Prize for Architecture is awarded to a design or renovation design for an outstanding new building or building complex that has been completed within the past three years. The Prize promotes the appreciation of high-quality architecture and aims to highlight the importance of architecture in producing cultural value and increasing well-being. The Finnish Association of Architects, SAFA, made the decision to establish the Finlandia Prize for Architecture on December 12, 2011.

The five shortlisted projects in 2015 are the Puukuokka Housing Block by OOPEAA; the Kangasala Arts Centre by Heikkinen-Komonen Architects; the OP Financial Group Headquarters by JKMM Architects; the Merenkulkijanranta residential block by NRT Architects; and Opinmäki School by Arkkitehtitoimisto Esa Ruskeepää Oy.

The list was drawn up by a jury chaired by Finnish Architectural Review editor-in-chief Jorma Mukala, and including Museum of Finnish Architecture director Juulia Kauste, architect Eero Lundén and Pirjo Sanaksenaho, director of The Research Institute for Health Care Facilities, SOTERA operating within the Department of Architecture at Aalto University.

Other works by Anssi Lassila / OOPEAA include, for example, the Kärsämäki Shingle Church, the Kuokkala Church and the House Riihi. The Suvela Chapel and Community Center in Espoo is currently under construction and a public sauna on the Island of Lonna in Helsinki and the Konsthall Tornedalen in Sweden are now in the design phase.