Luonnonmaa is an island on the Finnish Western archipelago coast, close to the city of Turku. Half the size of Manhattan but home to just 2000 people, the island is defined by its clean Nordic nature and undulating farming landscape. However, the way of life on Luonnonmaa is challenged by climate catastrophe and biodiversity loss, just as it is in more population-concentrated places on the planet.
The island is seemingly empty – or full of immaculate space – but a closer inspection reveals that most of the land area is defined by human activity, and its ripple effects. A growing population on the island will need to provide more opportunity for nature, while they develop their way of life, means of transportation, work, as well as food and energy production.
Local inhabitants, politicians and planners supported by consulting futurologists and architects committed to a co-creative process to suggest a vision of the future, asking: Can the future be both sustainable and desirable? Could we build more to accommodate human needs, while (counter-intuitively) producing more opportunities for nature around us?
PROJECT: Luonnonmaa Vision, CREDITS: &’, Finland Futures Research Centre, TYPE: Research, LOCATION: Naantali/Finland, SCALE: 70 years, CLIENT: City of Naantali, STATUS: Completed 2019
EQUATING AGE & SPACE
“Can computerized production technologies turn pure wooden structural joinery into an attractive option again?”
The Niemelä Tenant Farm, one of the most significant remnants of Finnish vernacular architecture, is a collection of thirteen small wooden buildings around a collective courtyard. Originally built in the 18th century in Central Finland it is now located in the outdoor museum of Seurasaari in Helsinki. This temporary “fourteenth building” was added to the neighborhood in 2017 to study the differences (and similarities) in our, and our ancestors’ perception of space. The pavilion is built entirely of wood - without structural metal, glue, or plastics - as a combination of traditional and progressive contemporary technologies.
PROJECT: “Y” Installation, CREDITS: &’, Emmi Keskisarja, Janne Teräsvirta, Miia-Liina Tommila, Silje Klepsvik, Tone Berge, Irmelin Rose Fisch Vågen, Tommi Alatalo, Antrei Hartikainen, PHOTOS: Saana Wang, TYPE: Pavilion, LOCATION: Helsinki/Seurasaari Outdoor Museum, SIZE: 35sqm, CLIENT: Finnish National Board of Antiquities, SUPPORTERS: Finnish Cultural Fund, STATUS: Completed 2017
HELSINKI CENTRAL LIBRARY
For contemporary people the right to create and to broadcast is as elemental as the right to learn was in the past. Today’s library is about producing information as much as storing and consuming it. These are the basis for the Helsinki Central Library, “Oodi”.
Oodi is located in the very heart of the city. Its 17.000 square meters are all effectively public. Instead of gathering around a shrine-like focal space, the building presents itself as a collection of three individual compartmental floors. Each floor is dedicated to a different concept of information, and their distinctive architectural interpretation: The ground floor, under a bridging wooden volume, is a social urban place for real-time sharing. The first floor inside the warping volume introduces a more contained feel to serve production of new objects and media. The third floor under a tranquil floating white ceiling is a more classical storage of information.
A large exterior balcony extends the third floor out towards the House of Parliament, providing a moment where the library and the parliament are at equal elevation. This juxtaposition is symbolic to the interdependence of power and information: their immense potential in goodness when used accurately, and in evil at a moral breakdown.
CREDITS: Ala Architects (Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta and Samuli Woolston), PROJECT: Helsinki Central Library Oodi, SIZE: 17.000sqm, LOCATION: Helsinki, Finland, STATUS: Completed 2018
A COVER OF PARTICIPATION
The canopy levitates in an informal rhythm, covering the urban location of the pavilion. The height and orientation of the spaces underneath variate to create a series of unique moments. Different groups can gather, and various themes can take place in multiple areas under the single structure while the concrete “stones” provide seating. The structure is re-erectable. The suspended structure is supported by a light but rigid triangular steel skeleton, which enables stability without stay ropes or cables - the typical space consuming solution.
PROJECT: Citizen Pavilion, CLIENT: Made in Kallio, SIZE: 160 sqm, LOCATION: Helsinki,, STATUS: Completed 2013, CREDITS: &’, Matti Orpana (structural engineer), Pekka Tynkkynen, PHOTOS: Tuomas Uusheimo
How to deliver an impressive spatial experience in commercial airplane cargo?
The Dragon Skin Pavilion is a study on how architects can reassert control over parts of the construction process previously surrendered to factories and contractors, and how this enables them to materialize discoveries from the digital into the built environment. It is a plywood structure held together only by gravity (no engineers = no structure = elements ARE the structure). The work was designed and constructed for the 2011-12 Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture.
CREDITS: &’, Emmi Keskisarja, Kristof Crolla, Sebastien Delagrange, Pekka Tynkkynen, PHOTO: Dennis Io, CLIENT: Hong Kong Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, SIZE: 16 sqm, LOCATION: Hong Kong, China, STATUS: Completed 2012
What could be achieved with the energy already harnessed in existing built structures?
Hartwall Arena is the largest sports stadium and entertainment complex in Helsinki. The infrastructure of the arena is built for the demand of a full audience of 30.000. Such audience peaks happen 2-3 times per year in major events. For the remaining time the vast potential of the arena’s infrastructure remains unused.
Calculations proved that this potential could supply for at least another 50,000 square meters of new construction. Peak attenuation systems help to overcome occasional large public events. The rough public space around the arena - and around the proposed tower - is also upgraded.
The facade envelope of the tower progressively grows from bottom to top, as the spaces shift from offices to apartments. This serves the different daylight and cooling requirements of these programmes and results int a distinguished performative shape.
CREDITS: Ala Architects (Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta and Samuli Woolston), Arup, PROJECT: Tower on Leijona Square, LOCATION: Helsinki, Finland, PROGRAM: 75.000sqm, offices, apartments, sports/entertainment centre, CLIENT: Harkimo Productions, STATUS: Concept Design 2011,
Could the intimacy of a theater performance coexist with the anarchy of public urban space?
The main principle in developing the shores of Helsinki is to guarantee a continuous public access to the waterline. The assignment was to design an outdoor theater that would use the archipelago as a backdrop, and ultimately touch water. These contradictions result in a solution where an accessible public route passes under the theater stage along the shore. The outdoor auditorium acts an extension to the surrounding park outside performance hours. People could get their feet wet in the water, and also enjoy views from 21 meters above ground! The theater seats 1100 people. The interior functions include a restaurant, small indoor theater and necessary back-of-house -spaces.
How to create sustainable beauty on a field of asphalt?
A rectangular asphalt area is cut off. A solar panel tower is added next to it. Energy from the solar panels is transferred to heat the asphalt from underneath. An accelerated natural zone is created, where frost is avoided and growth periods extended. The main event of the piece is the long-term evolution from a smooth, black, man-made surface into a rapidly growing, living piece of nature.
TYPE: Public Sculpture, CLIENT: Helsinki Art Museum, SIZE: 120sqm, COST: 150.000€, LOCATION: Helsinki/Finland, TEAM: &’ Emmi Keskisarja, Janne Teräsvirta, PHOTOS: Saana Wang
... OF WAR AND PEACE
How to merge layers of built memorabilia from different ages into a coherent environment?
The historical milieu of the wartime Finnish army HQ is to be converted into a Center for War and Peace. Exhibition- and educational functions are placed both in the buildings and around the neighborhood. The new situation is expressed by adding a frame around the “original”. This gesture connects different buildings of the Center, and creates a literal frame around the area. Inside the frame historical surface materials are preserved and/or reconstructed. The only additions in this area are two playground objects: One projected to be full of children, joy and play —- and an identical one restricted by glass walls, to remain empty forever.
CREDITS: &’, Emmi Keskisarja, Janne Teräsvirta, Miki Sordi, PROJECT: Muisti Center for War and Peace, TYPE: Museum and Masterplan 2017, LOCATION: Mikkeli/Finland, SIZE: 8000sqm, CLIENT: Miksei oy, City of Mikkeli, STATUS: Ongoing, COLLABORATORS: Wise Group, Controlteam, Polygon, OiOi
How to turn an industrial environment into a finessed cultural environment without loosing its derelict charm?
Kilden in Kristiansand unites the local Symphony Orchestra, the regional Theater and the local opera ensemble with the citizens of Southern Norway. It can host over 2.500 spectators simultaneously. The building is a materialized piece of fantasy merged into an industrial harbor scenery. It’s identity is defined by a monumental wooden wall built of local oak. The wall is an embodied border between reality and fantasy that acts as an interface between the building’s performances and the public.
CREDITS: Ala Architects (Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta and Samuli Woolston with SMS Arkitekter/Erik Sandsmark), WSP, Arup, Brekke Strand, Sweco Grøner, Cowi, TPC, PROJECT: Kilden Performing Arts Center in , PROGRAM: Performing Arts Centre, CLIENT: TKS IKS Kristiansand, SIZE: 24.600sqm, COST: €140 million, CNY 980 million, LOCATION: Kristiansand, Norway, STATUS: Completed 2011, PHOTOS: Iwan Baan, Tuomas Uusheimo
How to encourage a development of healthy financial real estate structure by spatial design?
The project includes the master plan and reprogramming of the landmark hospital area of Dikemark. Along architectural design, the plan introduces means to finance the steps. Variations in scale, program, privacy, ownership and commitment are secured. Financial risk is distributed and minimized with multiple end-user groups. Ultimately, to ensure continuation, the ownership structure is changed from mono to plural. The project proposes an architecture that literally mirrors and reflects the surroundings, bringing the existing into focus, thus making a statement on the approach to built heritage.
CREDITS: &’. Emmi Keskisarja, Tone Berge, Silje Klepsvik, Miia-Liina Tommila, Vegard Aarseth, Noora Aaltonen, Ossi Keskisarja, Minnamarie NurmiPROJECT: Dikemark Housing Area Plan, CLIENT: Asker & Oslo municipalities and Oslo University Hospital, SIZE: 100.000 sqm (11 ha) + 55.000 sqm renovation, LOCATION: Agder, Norway
NATURALIA NON SUNT TURPIA
Could a utilitarian structure in the middle of nowhere be designed for everyone?
As architecture, a water tower has to perform only in a few simple levels: It needs to hold up to 30tns of water high up the air, and provide access for maintenance about once every year. In Finland water towers are often thought of as landmarks, stimulating the landscape an imaginative concrete shape, or structural miracle.
The site for this project is isolated, inhabited only by birds and other forest animals. Could the water tower become social infrastructure for these inhabitants? We propose to build different conditions on its facade for birds, bats, insects, and other animals to inhabit. Instead of creating a solid and still concrete sculpture, we aimed for an architecture that is alive, vivid and in motion - a complete biostructure.
CREDITS: Veikko Ojanlatva & Janne Teräsvirta, TYPE: Competition, LOCATION: Kerava/Finland, SIZE: 30tn
CE N’EST PAS UN IMMEUBLE
The scheme consists of five perimeter blocks. Their height varies between 2 and 16 floors. The roofs are covered with terraces. The gigantic bowl shape enables sea views from all terraces and apartments. Meanwhile a sense of community and togetherness for the inhabitants is suggested by the composition. While the building scale is large along the seafront, the inner streetscape of the area is tight and comfortable. The change of scale places maximum amount of homes close to the sea, while it mitigates wind effect within the block perimeters.
CREDITS: Ala Architects (Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta and Samuli Woolston), Trafix, Airix, PROJECT: Hanasaari Housing Area Masterplan, SIZE: 100.000sqm, LOCATION: Helsinki, Finland, PHOTOS: Tiia Ettala
&' [Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects] was founded in 2016, basing on the idea that better environments can be achieved by improving the creative design process. The right angle to each individual process could be found by developing more open and effective, organic collaborative methods, that vigorously emphasise inventive research, as well as pragmatic design work. The main mission of our partnership is to create a world more inspiring, more sustainable and more equal – in short: more beautiful.