Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Finnish Architecture & Design
Left: Sigge Architects use different materials to create unusual, sustainable designs that focus on simplicity and functionality. Right: The Finnish Embassy in Berlin won the prize for Best Building in the World in 2001. Photo: Jussi Tiainen.
From practical functionality to futuristic, floating eco-islands Finnish architecture firm Sigge Architects believe in designing sustainable buildings with real functionality. Since its establishment in 1956, the company has won numerous international awards including Best Building in the World for the Finnish Embassy in Berlin. By Ndéla Faye | Photos: Vesa Loikas
From cities, government institutions and individual homes to private businesses, Sigge Architects have a host of clients. “Everything begins with functionality when we start to design a building,” says Pekka Mäki, CEO and partner at Sigge Architects. “We look at the local culture and surroundings, and try to incorporate these in our buildings.” Finnish countryside in award-winning design In 2001, the Finnish Embassy in Berlin won the prize for Best Building in the World at the Arup World Architecture 96 | Issue 82 | November 2015
Awards in Hong Kong. “As with our other buildings, we wanted to create something simple, something that would not only serve the building’s functionality but would also be visually striking,” Mäki explains. The building’s glass façades are covered with slats of larch wood, designed to resemble a traditional Finnish barn during the day, filtering incoming light. “It is a mixture of the Finnish national identity and timeless simplicity, adjusted to the Embassy’s daily function,” Mäki elaborates. The different positions
of the slats animate the façade during the day while, in the evenings, the wood contrasts lights glowing from inside the building. The detailed design and mixture of materials continues in the interiors of the building, ranging from a circulating aluminium staircase to a birch-covered conference room. Floating eco-islands and luxury hotels At the moment, Sigge Architects have several projects in the Middle East, including a series of floating hotels and luxury apartments. The floating structures range from small individual houses to whole towns, hotels and sports facilities, including their bid for a floating football stadium for Qatar’s 2022 football World Cup. The floating designs come with independent power supplies, waste management and recycling systems. “The float-
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