Finlandia Prize for Architecture awarded to Oulu University professor Rainer Mahlamäki

The First Finlandia Prize for Architecture has been awarded to the design of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The head designer of the Museum is University of Oulu Professor of Architecture Rainer Mahlamäki.

The building was completed in the spring of 2013, and the main exhibition was opened to the public on 29 October 2014.

The winner was selected by Sixten Korkman, Professor of Practice in Economics at the Aalto University. According to Korkman, the building’s restrained design feels like the right approach to take, respectful of the history and tragic fate of the Polish Jews.

Korkman mentions the tension between the restrained exterior and the dramatic form of the entrance hall as the main idea of the building. He describes the mood of the building as solemn and dignified, but at the same time warm and optimistic. Korkman defines the building as more of a work of art than just a museum.

”The fruitful main idea of the building is the tension between the restrained exterior and the dramatic form of the entrance hall. The mood of the building is solemn and dignified, but at the same time warm and optimistic. We are dealing with more than just a museum: this building is a powerful and significant work of art that will change the look of Warsaw as a whole”, says Korkman.

The museum building is a multifunctional facility that promotes research, education, and the culture of the Jewish tradition.

Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects won the international architecture competition for the design of the Museum of the History of Polish Jewish in 2005. Riitta Id (from 2005 to 2007) and Marita Kukkonen (2008 onwards) worked as project architects.

Pictures of the Museum are at: www.arkkitehtuurinfinlandia.fi/en/home/

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Last updated: 14.11.2014