ALA Architects specializes in demanding public and cultural buildings, unique renovation projects, station design and master planning. The Helsinki–based firm was founded in 2005 by four partners: Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta and Samuli Woolston after winning the 1st prize in the open international competition for the new theater and concert hall in Kristiansand, Norway. Kilden Performing Arts Centre opened in 2012.
Today, ALA is today run by Grönholm, Nousjoki and Woolston, and in addition to them employs 49 architects, interior designers, students and staff members, representing 16 nationalities.
ALA’s most recent completed projects are the Helsinki Central Library Oodi, the renovation of the Finnish Embassy in New Delhi, Aalto University and Keilaniemi metro stations in Espoo, Finland, and the renovation of the Dipoli student union building in Espoo and its repurposing as the main building of Aalto University. Our current projects include three more subway stations along the western extension of Helsinki Metro, the expansion of the Helsinki Airport, a terraced parking garage in Helsinki, a new Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Tampere, as well as a university library in Lyon.
In addition to having designed major public buildings in Finland and abroad, the partners have taught architecture in Finland, and at Columbia University and Washington University in St. Louis’ Helsinki International Semester. In 2012 they received the prestigious Finnish State Prize for Architecture.
ALA seeks fresh angles, flowing forms and surprising solutions. We trust in beauty achieved by combining the intuitive and the analytical, the practical and the extravagant, the rational and the irrational.
ALA uses contemporary design tools such as building information modeling, 3D printing, and parametric design software combined with the more traditional model building and materials research. The ALA partners are directly involved with all aspects of the office’s design work, and take a very hands-on approach at the critical stages of each project. All team members are also expected to contribute to the creative process. The office also relies on its network of highly competent international collaborators and specialists to stimulate the exchange of up-to-date knowledge.
Every project starts with an analysis aspiring to get to the heart of the given task, to understand the framework based on the environmental constraints and the point of view of the client. After this begins the design phase that aims to, in a creative and open-minded manner, produce the best solution to the question at hand.