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The spectator stand and multi-purpose building of Rovaniemi Sports Arena, Railo, grabs the Finlandia 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.
“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.