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Finnish Architectural Review 2/2015: Nieto & Sobejano, On criticism, Five houses

The Finnish Architectural Review 2/2015 portrays Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano, a Madrid-based architect couple. They were awarded the Alvar Aalto Medal in February, 2015, as an acknowledgement of significant architectural work. The architects are known for their exquisite museum designs. The Arvo Pärt Centre in Estonia is one of the designs currently at the planning stage. Important themes in the couple’s work are landscape, geometry, roofscape and light. The medallists write about the fundamentals of their architecture. They also share some memories of their architectural journeys in Finland. The poetics of space in Alvar Aalto’s buildings has made a strong impression on them. In his article, the Finnish architect Juha Ilonen describes Nieto and Sobejano as archaeologists of architecture.

This spring’s exhibition at the Helsinki Design Museum brought into light the 1980s which was the decade of postmodernism in Finnish art, design and architecture. Pertaining to some recent research on the topic, Olli-Paavo Koponen and Kaisa Broner-Bauer, specialists of postmodernism, discuss the era’s architecture that is already at the stage of needing renovation.

The issue also discusses criticism. Lately the stage of architecture criticism in Finland and in this journal has attracted media attention even in national newspapers. The starting point to the attention was Julius Jääskeläinen’s tweet on a building review he wrote for The Finnish Architectural Review. The review is published in this issue, as well as the presentation of Vantaan Merkki apartment building, the subject of the critique, accompanied by a commentary of the designer, architect Tuomas Toivonen. In addition, the editor-in-chief Jorma Mukala ponders on the role and meaning of criticism in the journal.

In the last five years new players have made it to the “first line” of Finnish architecture, who have brought a new kind of visionary approach into designing: ALA, Anttinen Oiva, Avanto, AFKS, K2S, OOPEAA, Playa and Verstas Architects among others. The buildings presented in this issue are some of the latest realisations by these visionaries.

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