October 2, 2017

Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2017 Awarded to Harald Herlin

The winner of the Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2017, selected by Mr Reijo Karhinen, President and CEO of the OP Financial Group, is the Aalto University The new Harald Herlin Learning Centre. The library building was completed in 1970 to complement the Otaniemi campus design by Alvar Aalto. 

In this project of restoring the campus library, completed in 2016, Arkkitehdit NRT Oy  was responsible for the architecture of the renovation and the service design is by Kuudes Kerros Oy. The interiors were design by JKMM interior architects Päivi Meuronen, Noora Liesimaa and Rami Lehtimäki.

The interior concept forms an entity with a carefully curated visual identity and reorganized functions. In the concept, traditional library meets the innovations and the modern, future oriented way of making science. The precious Aalto interiors in the upper floors have been preserved but given a face lift. The upper floors have been supplemented with completely renewed lower floors, that are dedicated to new medias, relaxation and working together.

The winner was selected by Mr Reijo Karhinen, President and CEO of the OP Financial Group.

“Distinct historical layers allow us to differentiate between the new and the original design. The spirited and daring interior design of the ground floor, in particular, gives the building a futuristic and dynamic identity. The view over the ground floor is a powerful experience – stunning colours, the tangible air of creativity and new learning as well as innovative design solutions raise the heartbeat with excitement. I recognise the same sense of new life that I have been lucky to also experience at our new premises in Vallila. The architects have shown the courage to genuinely question Aalto’s thought in a most appropriate manner, by reconciling architectural beauty and diverse functional demands,” Karhinen notes in his statement.

The Finlandia Prize

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 was awarded for the first time in 2014. 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 to a Finnish architect or architectural firm for a project designed for a location abroad. In Finland’s centennial year, the pre-selection jury of the 2017 Finlandia Prize for Architecture wanted to highlight first-rate renovation projects. In addition to the Harald Herlin Learning Centre, the other projects short-listed by the pre-selection jury for the 2017 Prize were the Helsinki City Theatre, the Roihuvuori Lower Level School and St. Paul’s Church in Tartu.