On our recent trip to Finland we visited some of the country's best architecture of the past year, and learned about this year's exciting shortlist for the country's Finlandia Prize for architecture. Fast-forward a month and the prestigious competition's winner has now been announced: it's OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture's Puukuokka high-rise residential building in Jyväskylä.
Awarded by the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA), the Finlandia Prize for Architecture celebrates new building design in the country; this is the young event's second edition.
Competition was fierce and the five nominees also included: the Kangasala Arts Centre by Heikkinen-Komonen Architects; the Merenkulkijanranta residential block in Lauttasaari, Helinski by Architects NRT; OP Head Quarters in Vallila, Helsinki by JKMM Architects; and the Opinmaki school complex in Espoo by Esa Ruskeepaa Architects.
'A visit to one of the apartments and the superiority of a wood-clad dwelling – especially in terms of acoustics and comfort – convinced me. The large windows of the spacious staircase offer a view of a forest landscape in several directions. Puukuokka is the building that I enjoyed most with all my senses', said the judge, composer Kaija Saariaho who selected the winning scheme.
The firm's chief architect Anssi Lassila accepted the prize on behalf of OOPEAA. 'My goal in designing Puukuokka was to create a clearly identifiable design idiom for large-scale timber construction that combines comfort and cosiness with experience in an exciting way', he says. 'My ambition was to find a sustainable, high-quality solution for affordable housing.'