Team Representative: Jari Lonka (FI) – architect
Associate: Antti Mentula (FI) – architect
Contributors: Matias Celayes (AR), Julio Orduña Sanches (FI) – 3D designers
Kiviaidankatu 2 i, 00211 Helsinki (FI)
+358 9 424 2560 – email@example.com – L Arkkitehdit Oy
J. Lonka, A. Mantula, J. Orduña Sanches & M. Celayes
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
Jari Lonka and Antti Mentula work currently together in the same architectural office L Architects ltd which is one of the biggest in Finland. They met back in 1999 at the Helsinki University of Technology where they studied architecture together. Julio and Matías have their own company Ola Design ltd that does a lot of work for L Architects alongside with sharing the same office space with them.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?
In the future much of the expansion of Helsinki region will be based on the transformation of highways into urban boulevards. We saw the competition as a chance to explore the possibilities of this future field of design and to come up with new innovative and proactive solutions. When it comes to productivity there’s a vast unharnessed resource in the energy and ideas of people regardless of their status as residents, workers, entrepreneurs etc. We believe that creativity and unexpected solutions emerge when given a chance.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
The ground and first floors alongside the future boulevards are difficult to use efficiently by either housing or commercial services. In Laajasalo there are further limitations caused by the occasional challenging terrain formations. Despite this, we saw the site as a perfect place to explore the implementations of housing/business synergy and shared economy. The ”difficult floors” crave for new ways of productive use and hence create a natural driving force for new innovations. In Laajasalo the new emerging urbanism and the strong natural elements meet in a unique way and make way for new Finnish urbanism.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
At L architects we have been dealing with flexibility in housing as well as the synergy surplus created by blurring the limit between housing and commercial/public services. In general we are very interested in exploring the possibilities of future city areas and developing concepts for new ways of using space.
5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
An initial idea brought forward by a competition entry needs to be both strong and flexible in order to survive the process. When the foundation is solid the idea will not break when it goes through the inevitable evolution. In our projects we make sure that all the important design solutions are feasible, based on correct information and promote further freedom of choice whenever possible.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
This is the first time we participate with this team and also our first time receiving an Europan prize. The design task has been very rewarding and we believe the things we have learned will be of great use in our future projects.