• K2S partners. Photo: K2S
  • Kamppi Chapel of Silence. Photo: Marko Huttunen
  • Arctia. Photo: Mika Huisman

Superstar amid new generation of architects

Quality, innovations, Finnish building traditions and interaction with the environment: the four principles that guide the design work of K2S Architects. The architects at K2S like to use the term “roots” to describe what gives rise to good architecture. K2S itself has sprung up to become one of the most outstanding representatives of the new generation of architects. Success in international design competitions and high-visibility projects have earned the architects at K2S honour and respect.

K2S was founded in 2001 and is based in Helsinki near the Olympic Stadium. The company name refers to its three partners, architects Kimmo Lintula, Niro Sirola and Mikko Summanen. Their most famous design to date is the Kamppi Chapel of Silence in the centre of Helsinki, which opened in connection with World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 and proved to be a massive success among visitors.

Bold new wooden architecture

The Chapel of Silence rises up strikingly amidst the hustle and bustle in the square outside the Kamppi Shopping Centre. The building represents contemporary church architecture with a new service design as well. Instead of traditional church services, the chapel is intended for meditation and interaction.

The exterior wall of the cylinder-shaped chapel is made from Finnish spruce and the interior walls from black alder.

“The Chapel posed a unique design challenge for us. The wooden structure offered the opportunity to play with forms, structures and surface treatments, which is very important in such an experimental and trendsetting project,” commented Mikko Summanen.

K2S has established a reputation for wooden construction, and many of their designs feature a dialogue between wood and spaciousness. According to Summanen, “another fine thing about wood is its character on the emotional level: its colours, textures and scents appeal to us.”
In addition to public buildings, K2S is involved in the design of residential buildings, urban planning, and art and exhibitions. One of its biggest upcoming projects involves the renovation of Helsinki’s legendary Olympic Stadium.  

Architectural competitions present new talent

Many landmark buildings in Finland are being designed by young architects these days. Credit goes to the particularly Finnish practice of organising architectural competitions for major projects. Students of architecture may also participate in these competitions.

K2S is no stranger to architectural competitions, and it has had notable success in many of them. “Participating in competitions is form of R&D work for us. Even if our proposal is not selected, we don’t consider the work a waste of time,” Mikko Summanen has said.

Designs by K2S and other new Finnish architects are presented in the annual event The Newly Drawn – Emerging Finnish Architects. The event is a joint project by several architectural organisations and is being held this year in Moscow.

Updated 09/06/2015