Namika Areena is the flagship sports facility of the Helsinki YMCA in Pakila, Helsinki. Situated by the Ring I, the busiest road in Finland, the quality of the building’s architecture was held to an especially high standard. The colour of the concrete façade was accomplished through Umbra colour patination, and it’s shade was inspired by a traditional leather basketball. The building and its façade is split into two sections by a canyon that separates the main sports facilities from each other, while also allowing the indoor spaces to be in touch with the cityscape outside.
Basketball games are televised in the world-class Areena court, while another multi-activity court and a diverse selection of exercise facilities provide for auxiliary training. Despite its main use for YMCA basketball, the sports facilities of Namika Areena are used by neighbourhood schools during daytime, as well as by other associations providing leisure activities in the evenings.
Several street basketball and two padel courts are situated in the grounds. During major events, they provide additional parking space. Some locker rooms can be accessed directly from the outside, serving the local football club’s airdome across the yard. To avoid interfering with the surrounding nature, a resting pole provides a route for flying squirrels to cross the yard safely. The yard has been designed by Nomaji Landscape Architects.
University of Helsinki organised a competition to design and realise a new main building for Hyytiälä forestry field station in 2020. We won the competition in collaboration with Siklatilat. The station hosts year-round facilities for field work and scientific meetings. The new main building is designed to adopt to the scale of the old courtyard: the building is split into four small pavilions under a connecting roof. The main volume with learning spaces and the restaurant is visible from the entrance driveway, wishing visitors welcome and opening up the acitivities of the station to the surroundings. The accommodation rooms are each accessible from the terrace, creating the atmosphere of a single outdoor cabin in the woods. The new building will serve as a living lab for wooden architecture during its lifespan.
We won the Pakilanpuisto campus alliance competition in collaboration with Architects Frondelius+Keppo+Salmenperä in 2018. The competition was set to decide the locations of schools, kindergartens and sports facilities in the precious natural and cultural environment of Pakilanpuisto. The functions of the school was divided onto two different lots on the area, however a safe route between them was secured. The schools also utilise the facilities of Namika Areena, a sports hall designed by us, also located in the area.
The school at Halkosuontie lot is for children from 3rd to 9th grade. It consists of two buildings: the old Pakila primary school that was refurbished, and an extension that is visually submissive to the existing building. The extension is one of the first schools of wooden construction ordered by the City of Helsinki. The existing school has a pitched roof that inspired the shape of the extension. Although the façade of the extension has a masonry finish to match with the old, wooden finishes are widely visible indoors.
In addition to basic education, the school at Halkosuontie hosts new spaces for youth work and diverse leisure activities. As a specialty, both schools in Pakilanpuisto have the first learning spaces in Helsinki that are specifically directed towards severely disabled children.
On the Elontie lot, the construction of the building for children from kindergarten to 2nd grade has begun in 2022.
We won the mini competition to design Vanhainen Kindergarten in Northern Helsinki in 2020. The kindergarten creates a landmark by the neighborhood’s main road Soittajantie. The kindergarten has learning environments for 224 children, and it also serves the community for gathering and evening activities. Our concept has a playful threefold roof, which slopes towards the courtyard, forming a sheltered terrace area. Wood is used both on the exterior and interior. The project will qualify for Joutsenmerkki environmental certificate.
Trekoli is a wooden block for seniors in the city of Pori, Finland, by Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen. The block consists of two wooden buildings of very different age and style, with a communal garden in between. The old existing building is a 1930s townhouse, which used to function as a senior home. As the old senior home grew out of today’s standards for senior living, the owner decided to construct a new wooden apartment building to accompany the old main building. The new building would continue the local tradition of wooden architecture with a new contemporary layer.
The new Trekoli apartment building was designed to blend into the existing wooden district of Kuukkari, to respect and to complement the cityscape. The district has a very homogenous fabric of 1-storey townhouses, which have prominent roofs and attics. As Trekoli would be the largest and highest building in its surroundings, the design had to find ways to make the building seem smaller than its size. Thus the starting point for the design was to split the building into four slices, which all have their own pitched roofs. Two corners of the roofs descend down to 2-storeys’ height so as to meet the neighbouring buildings’ roofs. The small nods make a big impact to the scale of the building and connect it to the cityscape.
The building has cross-laminated timber as load-bearing structure. Using CLT and having wood visible on all possible surfaces was the client’s with from the start, and our team worked hard to fulfil it within Finnish fire regulations. A maximum allowed amount of 20% of the load-bearing structures are visible on the interior. The exterior is clad with wood. Also the non-load-bearing walls on the interior are made out of cross-laminated timber, which makes the interior very wooden.
The senior apartments are purposefully small to encourage residents to spend time together in the common areas. The common lounge is a high space with two balconies opening to it from the upper living floors. The lounge is a gathering area with postboxes, a common kitchen and coffee table. The host organisation’s facilitator works and meets seniors in the lounge area. The upper balconies are meant for following the lounge’s activities, reading and chatting in a cosy spot.
The smallest apartments are designed for singles, and the larger ones for couples. The apartments are designed to be barrier-free, just as the common spaces and the garden. The garden provides low-barrier exercise equipment, a barbecue spot, a traditional garden swing and easily accessible bike parking. Under the building the residents can also enjoy a basement car park, which is connected by lift the the apartment floors.
The client’s aim is good and decent elderhood, which the building is designed to support.
Rajatorppa school is a new multipurpose learning building in the heart of the small-scale Rajatorppa residential area in Vantaa. The design of the school started with an alliance competition in 2017. Based on the winning proposal, the City of Vantaa, NCC Finland and the architectural consortium Rudanko+Kankkunen and Architects Frondelius+Keppo+Salmenperä formed an alliance to implement the school. Completed in spring semester 2020, the new school building includes pre-school and 1-6 grade facilities. The repair works of the protected Ilpola school on the same site is also part of the project, and the museum school is home to the oldest students’ learning spaces.
The architectural starting point was to integrate the outdoor space into the learning environment and to adapt the school building to the small-scale neighborhood. We introduced large canopies that wrap the two-floor school building under them. The canopies open up towards the learning courtyard and provide shelter for outdoor learning. The brick facades play with different patterns, and the seemingly random windows are placed so that they provide interesting views for kids of different ages.
The school is located on a very tight site. The old school building, which is to be demolished, still stands on the same site and has been in function throughout the construction. The learning yard, designed by Nomaji landscape architects, will be completed in spring 2020 after the building’s demolition.
The central lobby with a cosy dining area is the building’s heart. The wide main stair doubles as the school’s auditorium. The plan tilts at the central lobby, creating a natural gathering space and focus towards the stage.
The learning environment was designed together with the city’s pedagogists, and also the Rajatorppa students and teachers have been in a very active role. They have expressed their wishes, sketched the spaces and furniture and traveled to the future school with virtual glasses.
In December 2019, artist Maikki Rantala realized a large street art mural on the two-story wall of the central lobby. Students sketched their ideas for the mural’s characters in participatory workshops over the autumn. The students first realized thier own street art paintings on the construction site fence, and finally Rantala developed their characters into one large painting for the school’s wall.
Our team won the invited architectural competition for Sipoonlahti school (2015-16) together with Architects Frondelius+Keppo+Salmenperä Ltd. The project’s aim is to extend the existing school building and kindergarten, transform the existing buildings into a future learning environment and to develop the surrounding area into an open sports and learning park. The competition task was exceptionally broad: together with our pedagogic designer, we developed a pedagogic concept for the school and drafted the school’s room program as a part of the competition.
Our team started designing the campus area in spring 2016. Our registered collaborative Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen Ltd. and Architects Frondelius+Keppo+Salmenperä Ltd. holds the overall design contract of the campus. Other design field act as our subcontractors.
Architects: Anssi Kankkunen, Hilla Rudanko, Mikko Kilpeläinen, Valter Rutanen, Jaakko Keppo, Matti Sten, Jari Frondelius, Juha Salmenperä
The open international competition for the new building of Sara Hildén Art Museum was organised by Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company, Sara Hildén Foundation and the City of Tampere in the autumn of 2020. Our proposal for the new art museum becomes a part of the brick architecture in the Finlayson area, and it is respectful towards the scale of its surroundings. The architecture of the building is straightforward, creating the newest layer to the historical industrial environment. The new mass builds up towards the east which turns into an impressive entrance for the industrial area. There is a sophisticated change in the scale of the gallery spaces while touring the exhibitions. It creates a slowly expanding series of rooms where the largest exhibition space is elevated from the level of the busy street.
We won Helsinki city’s competition to design Nihti kindergarten in Kalasatama. Kalasatama is a new urban neighborhood built one of the former harbours of central Helsinki. In our concept a large green roof adapts to the block scale and a wooden facade opens up towars the children’s yard.