It would be an honour for any architect to be able to have their their work embellish an Alvar Aalto construction. So when entries opened for a competition for international architects to design the new extension for the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland, it was little surprise that a record-breaking 689 entries were submitted.
The competition sought to find solutions that would act as a connecting element between the two existing Aalto buildings, whilst also developing and evolving the surrounding locale of Jyväskylä’s Ruusupuisto park.
The first prize was awarded yesterday, to coincide with Aalto's birthday. The jury panel – comprising nine members including Alvar Aalto Foundation director Tommi Lindh; and Esko Eriksson, the city of Jyväskylä's real estate director – chose a Finnish project titled ‘Silmu’ as the victor ('Silmu' is Finnish for leaf bud).
The young architectural team – consisting of Sini Rahikainen, Hannele Cederström, Inka Norros, Kirsti Paloheimo and Maria Kleimola – won the jury over with their ‘delicate yet powerful form language’, catering to the panel's requirement of creating a ‘seamless link’ between the two iconic buildings while showing sensitivity towards the cultural environment.
Second place was awarded to another Finnish firm, with a submission coined ‘Kannel’; while Australian-Spanish practice SMAR Architecture Studio secured third place with the ‘The Ground and the Roof’.
'The high-end entries stand out from the rest with their clear, striking ideas and formal properties,' says Lindh. 'The best thing about "Silmu" was its atmosphere and the subtle contours.' The top three asides, two other entries were also awarded a monetary prize, with an additional two submissions receiving honourable mentions.