The winner of the Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2016 selected by former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen is the spectator stand and multipurpose building ‘Railo’ in the Sports Arena in Rovaniemi, northern Finland. Completed in 2015, the structure located near the city centre was designed by Arkkitehtityöhuone APRT Oy. The prize was received by the chief architect Aaro Artto at a ceremony held in the Old Student House in Helsinki.
“Railo towers like a monumental landmark in the city. It fits perfectly into the ‘Reindeer Antler’ town plan designed by Alvar Aalto in 1954. At that time, the town was beginning to re-emerge from the ashes to become a proud Aalto city, rivalled only by Jyväskylä in its claim as Finland’s Aalto capital,” states former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen in his jury speech.
“Railo appears immensely high. Attention is drawn to the wavelike form on the side facing the street and the partly wood-covered steel structures. The overall impression is lighter than if the building had been made of concrete. Ultimately, my selection was decided simply by the impression made by the architecture. I walked across the pitch and turned to look at the spectator stand directly from the front. What I saw was a building perfect in its form, as if a classic temple had risen under the northern sky,” says Lipponen, justifying his choice.
According to the Pre-Selection Jury, which included Pirjo Sanaksenaho (Chair), Professor of Building Design at the Department of Architecture of the Aalto University and Head of the Research Institute for Health Care Facilities (SOTERA); Sari Nieminen, Artist Professor in Architecture; Eero Lundén, Director of Lundén Architecture; and Janne Pihlajaniemi, Professor of Architecture at the University of Oulu and Partner at M3 Architects and Paula Huotelin, Secretary General of the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA), who served as Secretary of the Jury, the architectural competition and its outcome was a major architectural feat by Rovaniemi City that will delight both the local football fans and visiting tourists. Rovaniemi has previously been known for a number of famous buildings designed by Alvar Aalto. The new sports arena and multipurpose building add a contemporary edge to the city’s high-quality architecture.
The Finlandia Prize for Architecture is awarded for the design or redevelopment of a notable new building or group of buildings completed within the past three years. The prize may be awarded either to a Finnish or foreign architect, or to an architectural firm for a project designed for a location in Finland; or a Finnish architect or architectural firm for a project designed for a location abroad. Other candidates shortlisted for the prize were the Lappeenranta City Theatre by ALA Architects, sauna Löyly by Avanto Architects and OOPEAA´s Suvela Chapel.
Read more about the Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2016 here.