SAFA in English

How it began

The first architectural competition in Finland was held in 1876, for the design of the Bank of Finland building. Other buildings over 100 years old which came about as a result of an architectural competition are: Ateneum Art Museum (1894), The House of the Estates (1889), the National Theatre (1899) and the National Museum (1901).

The History of Finnish Architectural Competitions

A significant percentage of the notable buildings in Finland have come about as a result of architectural competitions. Competitions have brought about new ways of thinking about architecture. The rise of National Romanticism could be seen in the competition entries from the turn of the century. One of the key works of Functionalism, the Paimio Sanatorium by Alvar Aalto, was based on his winning entry to an architectural competition in 1929.

Besides public bodies, several private clients have also arranged architectural competitions. For instance, the Tampere market hall (1895), the Pohjola Insurance company headquarters (1899), and the Stockmann department store (1916) were amongst the first competitions held for commercial and office buildings.

Housing design, as well as the design of village and town centres, parks and even traffic networks, has also developed through architectural competitions. The town planning competition in 1899 for the Helsinki district of Töölö was the first of its kind in Finland. Competitions for the town plans of Haapaniemi (Kuopio) and Niirala were held in 1900, for Vaskiluoto in 1903 and Turku in 1906.

One of the most interesting competitions (even from an international perspective) held during the 1990s was the one for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki (this was open to all architects from the Nordic countries plus 4 other specially invited architects from elsewhere). During the 1990s there were also several notable competitions linked with building structures, housing and the development of communities.


Tervatynnyrit, Arkkitehtitoimisto Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Arkkitehtitoimisto m3 Oy
Tervatynnyrit, Arkkitehtimisto Lahdelma & Mahlamäki and Arkkitehtitoimisto m3 Oy