Four projects have been shortlisted by the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA) for the prestigious Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2016.

Traditionally, the projects are shortlisted by a panel of architects while the final winning project will be chosen by a non-architect. Former Prime Minister of Finland Paavo Lipponen will have the honour of picking the winner this year.

Shortlisted projects for Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2016

Lappeenranta City Theatre by ALA Architects

TU-151119-lappeenrannan-kaupunginteatteri-005.jpgPhotography by Tuomas Uusheimo

Housed within the new extension of a shopping mall, Lappeenranta City Theatre was designed by ALA Architects and completed in 2015. According to the Pre-Selection Jury, the concept of a large public building being housed within a commercial building ultimately creates an intriguing setting for a new type of theatre building to emerge. Built on a single level, the theatre consists of a tight group of large hall spaces, with the foyer opening up towards the high central hall of the mall.

The ALA Architects team included Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta and Samuli Woolston.

Löyly by Avanto Architects


Located in Helsinki’s Hernesaari district, the Löyly building designed by Avanto Architects was completed this year. According to the Pre-Selection Jury, few buildings in Helsinki that are open to the public make such full use of their location by the sea as Löyly does. The horizon is visible from almost all indoor spaces and the roof also offers expansive views. The building is a mound clad in wooden lamellas with a triangular profile that beautifully reflects the light. The slats provide discrete privacy to those using the saunas, while allowing a sea view from inside.

The Avanto Architects team included Ville Hara, Anu Puustinen, Antti Westerlund and Hiroko Mori along with architecture students Laura Nenonen and Xiaowen Xu.

Rovaniemi Sports Arena, Railo by APRT Architects

DSC_4890X.jpgPhotography by Aaro Artto

Designed by APRT Architects, the spectator stand of the Rovaniemi Sports Arena, Railo, and the boulder-shaped residential and office buildings, once completed, will have a crevasse-like roadway winding between them. According to the Pre-Selection Jury, the new sports arena and multipurpose building add a contemporary edge to the city’s high-quality architecture. The building is located within the so-called ‘Reindeer Antler’ town plan designed by Alvar Aalto, near the town centre of Rovaniemi. The stand has a very different look depending on the direction from which it is viewed. When seen directly from the front, the structure looks like a lean and lightweight canopy supported by columns. From a distance, the spectator stand has the appearance of a large-scale, statuesque sports arena.

The APRT Architects team included Aaro Artto, Teemu Palo, Yrjö Rossi, Hannu Tikka and Jussi Vakkilainen.

Suvela Chapel by OOPEAA

OOPEAA_Suvela1.jpgPhotography by Mika Huisman

Designed by OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture and completed in 2016, the Suvela Chapel creates a natural highpoint within its surroundings with some of the spaces used by the City of Espoo residents’ park. The building also houses some facilities serving the residents’ park, making it a natural meeting point for people of all ages. The copper clad building extends from the ground over the roof and belfry, resulting in a sculptural effect.

The OOPEAA Office team included Anssi Lassila, Iida Hedberg, Juha Pakkala, Teemu Hirvilammi, Jussi-Pekka Vesala, Hanna-Kaarina Heikkilä, Anis Souissi and Miguel Silva.

Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2016 Jury

Jury Chair Pirjo Sanaksenaho along with jury members Sari Nieminen, Eero Lundén and Janne Pihlajaniemi together selected the four projects for the top prize.

According to Sanaksenaho, the shortlisted entries represent buildings of widely differing functions and geographic locations; however, they all form a space for the public to spend time in, be it as a church space, a sports venue, a cultural space or a leisure time space.

The winner of the third edition of the awards program will be announced at a ceremony in Helsinki on October 13, 2016.