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Collage: December

Collage is a monthly compilation of Olla’s news. This month, we competed both at the world’s largest architecture festival and in gingerbread architecture. December marks the end of an enriching and instructive year but also our first year as Olla Architecture.

Postmodernist gem shines again: the unique renovation of Maistraatinportti is completed

Maistraatinportti is an internationally acclaimed office building designed by architect Ilmo Valjakka. At the time of its construction in the 1980s, the building represented modern workplace thinking. Maistraatinportti is characterized by its curved walls and square shapes. The glass roof, skylights, and window openings bring natural light into the interior in an exceptional way.

Olla designed the renovation of this unique property. In projects like Maistraatinportti, the importance of dialogue is emphasized: architecture that serves its time always builds on a dialogue with the era, users, and the environment. Ideally, a renovation succeeds in respecting the old by further highlighting the original idea.

Read lead designer Bratislav Toskovic’s thoughts on the project and the cultural sustainability ideal that guided it here (in Finnish).

Multipurpose centre Akvarelli in the finals of the World Architecture Festival in Singapore

The multipurpose centre designed by Olla was the only Finnish building nominated in the Completed Buildings: Schools category. Akvarelli was presented by the project’s lead designer Jani Ristimäki and architect Minja Saario. Akvarelli competed with 14 projects for the title of the best completed school building. After inspiring project presentations, Huizhen High School in China was announced as the category winner.

In addition to the architectural category, Akvarelli also made it to the finals of the Inside Festival, a part of WAF focusing on interior architecture. Explore the multipurpose centre, resembling a village community, here.

New references: The Fennia Block and Omnia Finns

The Fennia Block is a building complex located in the heart of Helsinki, with its oldest parts dating back to the late 1800s. Situated in a significant location, the block underwent a revitalization project that began with a comprehensive examination of the Helsinki city centre and culminated in the renewal of the core elements of the historic block.

Omnia Finns is a historic educational environment on Finssinmäki in Espoo. Olla designed the comprehensive renovation of this culturally significant campus area, bringing the buildings closer to their original appearance.

Both projects focused on the restoration of valuable historical environments, ensuring their vitality for the future.

Explore Ilmalanlinna through a video

Ilmalanlinna is an impressive complex of five office buildings, centrally located in Ilmala, Helsinki. The design and construction of this recently completed project were driven by an ambitious goal: to create a fully ecological building with innovative technical solutions and services, ensuring comprehensive sustainability and accessibility. Get to know Ilmalanlinna here.

The gingerbread architecture competition made Olla’s professionals show their true talents

During the annual Christmas party, Olla’s people got to participate in a spirited gingerbread architecture competition. The event showcased remarkable creativity, seamless teamwork, and exceptionally imaginative use of materials.

The competition had loose rules, with only the time allocated for construction and presentation strictly limited. Each team had the same amount of gingerbread elements and a selection of decorations and frosting. The competition resulted in, among other designs, cityscapes, a landscape pillar placed on a snowy fell, and a resting home for pigs. Each creation brought to life what we already knew: Olla is home to a unique group of creative minds. The meeting room that served as the competition arena still carries the festive scent of gingerbread, and escaped decorative candies are likely to be found behind the furniture for quite some time.

The visualization compilation captures the versatility of Olla’s year

In the year 2023, Olla crafted more than 200 visualizations, capturing the extensive range of projects undertaken throughout the year. Olla’s projects spanned diverse categories, including educational environments, cultural landmarks, residential buildings, office properties and work environments, power stations, commercial spaces, as well as logistics and data centers. Explore a compilation video showcasing Olla’s wide range of projects and the skills of our 3D graphics artists here.

Thank you for this year.

2023 was a year of challenges, rewards, lessons, and inspiration. Olla wishes you a wonderful holiday season and all the best for the coming year.