Huttunen-Lipasti Architects won an international architecture prize for the Gullkronan house in Helsinki, which the company designed for Folkhälsan. Architect Risto Huttunen says that the key idea with Gullkronan was to maximise the available space despite the limited size of the site.
– Our premise was that we are building in an urban environment. The shape of the house was designed to adapt to the surrounding streets. There is a small bend in the building, creating a smallish yard area toward the busy Mannerheimintie street, while a larger courtyard on the other side faces Central Park, Risto Huttunen says.
The result is a sculptural form, as if the building was chiselled. The building appears narrow and lightweight, Risto Huttunen explains.
– The yellow brick façade matches the adjacent Folkhälsan House, while the passage between the houses has been designed to be as discreet as possible, he adds.
The prize is an international architecture prize from Germany, ICONIC AWARDS 2019: Innovative Architecture Competition. The organiser invites applications, which architect agencies themselves send in.
– It is naturally delightful to receive such an international recognition. It strengthens our faith in thought-out and well-planned architecture being worthwhile. Without an established and sophisticated client such as Folkhälsan that has high requirements, it would not have been possible to realise this innovative and seminal building, Risto Huttunen comments.
The building attracts the interest of passers-by, and Risto Huttunen says that many architects he knows have stopped at the building to take a photo of it.
– Naturally, the location and the environment define the framework for a building. This framework is the starting point for planning, as nothing can be designed in a hypothetical void.
The main designer of Gullkronan, architect Risto Huttunen, and building designer, architect Gunilla Björkqvist.
The windows in the building reach down to the floor, so that residents can enjoy the view from a wheelchair as well. Gullkronan was a candidate for the “Rakentamisen ruusu” award in 2018 as well as for the EU’s Mies van der Rohe Award for architecture in 2019.
The main designer is architect Risto Huttunen, while the building designer is architect Gunilla Björkqvist.
Folkhälsan CEO Georg Henrik Wrede is pleased with the recognition for Gullkronan.
– We are truly happy about this award. It was a great challenge to carry out the project at this location. It is delightful to receive recognition for successful work. Gullkronan is an exceptionally beautiful building that fits its surroundings perfectly, Wrede says.