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 run by Grönholm, Nousjoki and Woolston, and in addition to them employs 42 architects, interior designers, students and staff members, representing 15 nationalities.
ALA’s most recent completed projects are the new departures and arrivals building of Helsinki Airport, the Helsinki Central Library Oodi, Saukonlaituri parking facility, Courtyard by Marriott Tampere City hotel and the renovation of the Finnish Embassy in New Delhi. Our current projects include three subway stations along the second leg of the western extension of Helsinki Metro, an events center in Kotka, a university library just outside Lyon, the expansion of the Estonian Business School in Tallinn, as well as the restoration of Villa Lante in Rome.
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.