HomeArchitectureThe Spectator Stand and Multi-purpose Building ‘Railo’ in Rovaniemi Grabs The Finlandia Prize for Architecture Tony Öhberg 10/14/2016 Architecture, Culture, News, Top The stand of Railo looks different depending on the direction from which it is viewed. For example, when observed from the front, the structure looks like a lean and lightweight canopy supported by columns. Illustration: Aaro Artto The spectator stand and multi-purpose building of Rovaniemi Sports Arena, Railo, grabs the Finland Prize for Architecture. “Railo towers like a monumental landmark in the city. It fits perfectly into the ‘Reindeer Antler’ town plan designed by Alvar Aalto in 1954. At that time, the town was beginning to re-emerge from the ashes to become a proud Aalto city, rivalled only by Jyväskylä in its claim as Finland’s Aalto capital,” writes Paavo Lipponen, the former prime minister of Finland, who selected the winner at the Old Student House (Vanha) on Thursday evening. Completed in 2015, the structure located near the city center was designed by Arkkitehtityöhuone APRT Oy. The prize was received by the chief architect Aaro Artto. Paavo Lipponen, the former prime minister of Finland, wished that the northern part of the country would be known for its architecture rather than as an exotic place. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today “Railo appears immensely high. Attention is drawn to the wavelike form on the side facing the street and the partly wood-covered steel structures. The overall impression is lighter than if the building had been made of concrete. Ultimately, my selection was decided simply by the impression made by the architecture. I walked across the pitch and turned to look at the spectator stand directly from the front. What I saw was a building perfect in its form, as if a classic temple had risen under the northern sky,” said Lipponen, justifying his choice. The Finlandia Prize for Architecture is awarded by The Finnish Association of Architects for the design or redevelopment of a notable new building or group of buildings completed within the past three years. The prize may be awarded either to a Finnish or foreign architect, or to an architectural firm for a project designed for a location in Finland; or a Finnish architect or architectural firm for a project designed for a location abroad. Other candidates for the prize beside Railo were the Lappeenranta City Theatre, Löyly and Suvela Chapel. “The people in Rovaniemi wanted a multipurpose building and that’s what they got. One day when I went to take photographs of the sports hall I came to witness a dance practice by senior citizen ladies, which proved to be a delightful experience. Throughout the year, school children and parents practice, engage in physical exercise, play games or ski around the central field. This major project was executed during one winter almost entirely with local resources,” said Aaro Artto, the chief architect of Railo. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today The Rovaniemi Sports Arena is the home arena of the local football club RoPS. A competition for the design of the new spectator stand and the multipurpose building was declared in 2012. The winning entry ‘Railo’ was submitted by Arkkitehtityöhuone Artto Palo Rossi Tikka Oy. In the plan, the new majestic spectator stand and the boulder-shaped residential and office buildings, once completed, form a crevasse-like roadway winding between them. However, the spectator stand and the facilities beneath it have already created a true landmark in Poromiehentie Street. Illustration: Aaro Artto Want More? Get our BEST stories delivered to you inbox on Tuesday and Friday mornings in a newspaper format. Get your FREE trial today.