The University of the Arts Helsinki wins the Concrete Structure of the Year 2021

31 03 2022

The new building for the University of the Arts Helsinki is awarded as the winner of the Finnish Concrete Structure of the Year 2021 for its unique and skillful architectural and structural design, as well as for its high-quality construction and execution.

The new Academy of Fine Arts of the Uniarts Helsinki provides students and staff with exceptional facilities for tuition and making art within an architecturally distinct building. The architecture celebrates the imaginative integration of existing structures and pays homage to the history of Sörnäinen, a post-industrial neighbourhood buzzing today with young urban life. The new Academy of Fine Arts, designed in close cooperation with the students and the staff, is affectionately named “Mylly” (Finnish for The Mill) referencing the building that preceded it.

For the design and implementation of Mylly the award goes to:

Developer: Veritas

User: University of the Arts Helsinki

Architectural and interior design: JKMM Architects

Structural design: Vahanen

Main contractor: Lujatalo

Architect Kimmo Lintula, representing SAFA – the Finnish Association of Architects, sumps up the jury’s reasoning:

“The award-winning building represents a bold new form of purpose-built architecture. The new aesthetic starts from sustainability and the use of a single material, in this case concrete, to create spaces, textures and at the same time build a frame with future-proof spans. Once the molds have been broken – that’s it – once and for all, made for the future – a robust platform for the seeds of art – and at the same time powerful in itself.”

“Both the renovated old and the new concrete structures and surfaces are extensively featured in the building. The completed complex is an interesting example of the adaptability of a sustainable, everyday concrete production building for arts education and culture for at least the next 100 years, where new activities can be seen and experienced. The building is an easily accessible open public space with exhibition spaces that exclude no one, but also offers private spaces for art making,” praises the jury.

The University of the Arts Helsinki has nearly 11 000 m2 of new construction and 1 800 m2 of preserved old construction, for a total of nearly 13 000 m2.

According to the jury:

“The project required special skills in combining new and old structures with new technology. The planning and management of the project have been exceptionally challenging. The completed project is a testimony to the professionalism of the construction, the seamless cooperation between the various parties involved, and the first-class design and execution.”

“The completed building is a good example of public construction, where the versatile use of concrete has resulted in a sustainable and high-quality building, where long life and flexibility of use have already been the starting points of the design. The building is of architectural, urban and historical value and is a testimony to sustainable concrete construction. The spaces are only complete when the students of the University of the Arts occupy them and make them their own, according to the times and their needs.”

The building’s foundations and concrete frame are designed to serve for at least next 100 years.

For more information about the project and about the prize