Antti Nousjoki: “Buildings of the 21st century should encourage users to think creatively”

Antti Nousjoki: “Buildings of the 21st century should encourage users to think creatively. Creating architecture solely for effect is pointless.”

In late March, Antti Nousjoki, one of the founders and partners of Ala Architects from Estonia, visited and gave a presentation at a concrete conference and lectured at a meeting of the Young Architects Association of Estonia.

Antti Nousjoki and Ala Architects are best known for the Oodi Library in Helsinki. In Estonia, they are the winners of competitions for the development of the Eedu Education and Business Campus and Pirita tee 28.

Grete Tiigiste conducted an interview with Antti titled “An Ode to Architecture by the Architect of Oodi” for Sirp, which also discusses the Metro developments. The following is an excerpt from the interview between Antti Nousjoki and Grete Tiigiste for Sirp:

“Ala Architects currently have two ongoing projects in Tallinn: the EBS campus and the residential area at Pirita Road 28.

Yes, we were invited participants and won both projects through competitions. We started the EBS project four years ago and have been developing the design since then. Currently, the foundation and underground parking levels are being constructed. Upon this, a 30-story tower and a lower section that complements the quarter from an urban planning perspective will rise. There are a lot of square meters and work involved, and tenders are now being prepared. We are excited to see how the high-rise will engage in dialogue with the other towers in the Maakri quarter. The EBS high-rise is not very prominent in Tallinn’s skyline: its facade is three-dimensional and creates a contrast with the surrounding glass towers.

The Pirita Road project is a different story: it is a low-rise residential area with buildings ranging from two to six stories, totaling 60,000 square meters. So, it’s a fairly large project, a new urban area. In our vision, the architectural language of this area is unified and consistent; we are designing small apartment buildings resembling city villas. The goal is to create a sustainable quarter. This entails numerous details, from solar panels to electric vehicle charging stations, and from waste management to wastewater treatment and processing.

We do not want to see suburban sprawl along Pirita Road. While the quarter has some suburban qualities, it is part of the urban environment, a dense area close to the city center. Eventually, quite a few people will live in the quarter, so there is a need for services, restaurants, cafes, and leisure facilities. It’s not a place where you drive home by car and then drive away by car. We also consider those who do not live in the quarter but walk through it separately.”

The full article is available in Estonian here.