Scan Magazine, Issue 136, November 2021

Page 116

Left: Illustration of an ongoing land-use plan for an ecological semi-urban settlement in Finland. The wooden housing design is a collaboration between Tommila and Kaleidoscope, the overall plan being by Tommila Architects. Illustration: KVANT-1. Right: The prefabricated CLT ‘building set’ of repetitive elements is efficient and economical. Digital fabrication allows for playfulness of form within the framework of the CNC machine. The design explores three-dimensional expressions, creating the new identity of the area. Illustration: KVANT-1.

Thinking beyond architecture Since its foundation in 1984, Tommila Architects Ltd, based in Finland, has been at the forefront of Nordic innovation by combining the practices of traditional architectural design with urban design. Today, they partner with Norwegian firm Kaleidoscope Nordic. With the collaboration, the companies want to be a driving force for change in the Nordics. By Ndéla Faye  |  Illustrations: KVANT-1

Tommila Architects is a multidisciplinary team with a wide-ranging skillset. Part of their strength comes from the team’s varied backgrounds that enable them to cater to a range of needs and better understand different viewpoints. “We always aim to meet the ever-changing and increasingly complex needs of today’s society,” says Miia-Liina Tommila, the architecture firm’s CEO, and daughter of the company’s founder, Mauri Tommila. The architecture firm’s extensive portfolio showcases talent and innovative thinking by combining architecture, urban and ecological design, as well as construction. Their aim is to deliver fresh, inspiring and 116  |  Issue 136  |  November 2021

sustainable solutions that meet the needs of people, business and environment. Some of Tommila Architects’ most notable recent projects include transformation of the Arabia135 quarter in Helsinki, a historically industrial city block that today houses the Metropolia University of Applied Science and the Pop and Jazz Conservatory creative campus. The campus is an excellent example of functional design, as it needs to also cater to possible future evolution of educational needs. “As with all our projects, userfriendliness is key, so we worked in close collaboration with the users in coming up with new solutions,” Tommila explains.

In collaboration with the users, Tommila Architects designed Soiva – meaning resonant or musical – which is a building for making music, also part of the Arabia creative campus. Tommila Architects and Kaleidoscope Nordic sketched together the architectural concept of the music house that encourages casual meetings and a sense of communality among the occupants. The window configuration alludes to the medieval musical notation, giving identity to Soiva. The project itself was quite challenging, due to space constraints in the tightlybuilt factory quarter, as well as having to come up with new, versatile uses of the space that cater to evolving training needs. “We considered the users’ needs in this project, too, and decided to create music tuition rooms for versatile acoustic needs rather than different instruments, enabling high spatial efficiency, for example. We also designed several monitoring and editing rooms, which are clustered