Esa Ruskeepää Architects

Satamakatu 2, 00160 Helsinki
+358 50 3210930
office@era.fi

Esa Ruskeepää is a Helsinki-based architect committed to delivering original designs for outstanding buildings. Together with a small group of dedicated professionals, he creates architecture that is both elemental and universal.

The studio works on a few projects at a time, allowing appropriate time and attention for the development of balanced architectural concepts and precise construction details.

Bildungs­haus Wolfsburg

Bildungshaus Wolfsburg. Scale model 1:200. CNC cut wood.
Bildungshaus Wolfsburg. Scale model 1:200. CNC cut wood. Photograph © 2014 Thomas Miyauchi.

Bildungshaus is a public library and education center for the city of Wolfsburg, Germany. The site is located near Klieversberg Park in the vicinity of the Wolfsburg Cultural Center by Alvar Aalto and Wolfsburg City Theatre by Hans Scharoun.

The building is designed for various types of learning from collaboration and groupwork to focused solitary study. Thematically organized media collections are accompanied by lecture spaces, classrooms, educational kitchens, gyms, ateliers, workshops, and music rehearsal rooms. An efficient circulation system is developed to connect the different programmatic entities.

The design is based on a set of geometric rules in plan and elevation. A dynamic composition emerges from four highly symmetrical volumes and a simple square column grid of 7 x 7 meters. The structural frame is made of cast-on-site concrete. The ceiling grid is made of interlocking hardwood timber beams. The building’s structural and technical concept was developed together with . The design is complemented by an extraordinary plantation concept by .

Bildungshaus Wolfsburg
TypePublic library, education center
LocationHeinrich-Heine-Straße 44, 38440 Wolfsburg, Germany
TimelineCompetition (1st prize) 2013–2014, design development 2015– (on hold)
SizeGross floor area 16 500 m², net usable area 10 500 m²
Cost80 000 000 EUR (estimate)
ClientCity of Wolfsburg
ArchitectEsa Ruskeepää
TeamKlemen Breitfuss, Jussi Eskelinen, Matias Kotilainen, Thomas Miyauchi, Marlène Oberli, Simon Richardus, Rubén Tomás Verde, Lauri Virkola
CollaboratorsHENN (project manager, local partner), Arup (structural engineer, building services engineer), Fugmann Janotta Partner Landschaftsarchitekten und Landschaftsplaner (landscape architect), Tita Giese (horticultural consultant), Heinz Oberli (cost planning consultant)

Opinmäki Learning Center

Opinmäki Learning Center. Primary school on the left, secondary school in the middle and sportshall on the right.
Opinmäki Learning Center. Primary school on the left, secondary school in the middle and sportshall on the right. Photograph © 2015 Antti Canth.

Opinmäki learning center comprises premises for comprehensive education, early education and care, a public library, and sports and youth services of the city of Espoo, Finland. Situated in the center of the yet unfinished Suurpelto district, Opinmäki lends identity and provides space for the local community. Adult education, sports, and cultural events can take place simultaneously during pre-primary and comprehensive education hours, as well as after school hours.

The daycare center accommodates six groups of children with ages ranging from under one to six years old. The international comprehensive school has approximately 1000 students and consists of nine grades from ages seven to 15. Developed in compliance with the Finnish national curriculum, Opinmäki is designed to prepare the next generation for an open, knowledge-based, and networked society.

The building is composed of nine rectangular volumes that form a compact, organic overall layout. The different parts of the building are optimized for a wide variety of uses. The resultant areas in between the rectangular volumes serve as communal spaces and intuitive entry points from all sides of the building. The largest volumes lend the building a distinct public character while smaller volumes create a playful backdrop for the schoolyard and playground. The primary building material is concrete. The façades are custom-made brick laid on site.

Opinmäki Learning Center
TypeComprehensive school, daycare center, sports hall
LocationLillhemtintie 1, 02250 Espoo, Finland
TimelineCompetition (1st prize) 2011, design development 2012–2013, construction 2013–2015, completion 2015
SizeGross floor area 17 200 m², net usable area 10 300 m²
Cost52 500 000 EUR
ClientCity of Espoo
ArchitectThomas Miyauchi (competition), Esa Ruskeepää
TeamWillem-Anne van Bolderen, Klemen Breitfuss, Vesa Erikkilä (principal designer), Jussi Eskelinen, Tero Hirvonen, Matias Kotilainen, Sasu Marila (project architect), Thomas Miyauchi, Sanna Nordlander, Marlène Oberli, Nicola Prandini, Simon Richardus, Francesco Salvarani, André van Tulder, Rubén Tomás Verde, Lauri Virkola
CollaboratorsSRV (general contractor), Ramboll (structural engineer), Finnmap Infra (geotechnical engineer), Masu Planning (landscape architect), Wise Group (building services engineer), Insinööritoimisto Lausamo (electrical engineer), Insinööritoimisto Heikki Helimäki (acoustical engineer), KK-Palokonsultti (fire protection engineer), Insinööritoimisto Aulis Bertin (glass design consultant), Rita Pulli (kitchen consultant), Granlund (building energy simulation analyst), Gravicon (BIM consultant), Arto Palo (cost planning consultant)

Tammi­saari Art Museum

Tammisaari Art Museum. View towards the museum quarter entrance. Computer rendering.
Tammisaari Art Museum. View towards the museum quarter entrance. Computer rendering.

The proposed new art museum is located at the historical town center of Tammisaari, Finland. Established in 1546 by Gustav Vasa of Sweden, Tammisaari is one of the oldest towns in Finland.

The new museum joins an assembly of local art and cultural institutions, many of which are housed in the original residential buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries. Visible from the market square, the new building creates an entry point to the cultural quarter and completes the transformation of a former domestic courtyard into a public domain.

The building is organized into four floors that are identical in plan. The room height and use of daylight differs from floor to floor. Some floors can be divided into a series of small galleries.

The brick walls are laid on site as a single-leaf monolithic structure. The cast-on-site concrete floors can withstand high concentrated loads without the use of columns. Passive measures such as thermal mass and solar orientation help create a self-regulating, robust, and comfortable indoor climate. A hybrid ventilation system supports the use of the building with minimal technical efforts and interventions. The climate and energy concepts were developed in collaboration with .

The museum is founded by a renowned Finnish human geneticist and philanthropist Albert de la Chapelle. Its collections include, among others, several paintings by Helene Schjerfbeck.

Tammisaari Art Museum
TypeArt museum
LocationKustaa Vaasan katu 11, 10600 Tammisaari, Finland
TimelineLimited competition 2018
SizeGross floor area 1 200 m², net usable area 900 m²
ClientAlbert de la Chapelles konststiftelse
ArchitectEsa Ruskeepää
TeamAntti Canth, Simon Mahringer, Andrei Poutanen
CollaboratorsTranssolar (building energy simulation analyst, building services engineer)

Porvoo Municipal Office Building

Porvoo Municipal Office Building. Scale model 1:400. CNC cut acrylic and plastic.
Porvoo Municipal Office Building. Scale model 1:400. CNC cut acrylic and plastic. Photograph © 2009 Jan Ahlstedt.

The proposed new municipal office building for the city of Porvoo, Finland is located at the town center, defined by a rigid Neoclassical grid plan from the early 19th century. The office building is situated by the market square and behind the Porvoo City Hall, a Neo-Renaissance landmark designed by C.R. Rosenberg.

The design balances between creating a freestanding landmark as a contemporary counterpart to the old city hall on one hand and continuing the regular urban structure on the other, marking a transition from monumental architecture to rigid urban structure.

The new building is composed of four identical volumes each approximately the size of the old city hall. Touching the street lines in four corners only, the slender volumes create a series of intimate outdoor spaces that mark the entrances to the new building.

Porvoo Municipal Office Building
TypeOffice building
LocationRaatihuoneenkatu 9, 06100 Porvoo, Finland
TimelineCompetition (2nd prize) 2008–2009
SizeGross floor area 9 000 m², net usable area 6 000 m²
ClientCity of Porvoo
ArchitectPéter Paalanen, Esa Ruskeepää
TeamTakano Atsushi, Maiju Suomi
CollaboratorsVahanen (structural engineer), Buro Happold (façade engineer, building services engineer)

Hellwinkel Daycare Center

Hellwinkel Daycare Center. The façades are affordable standard brick laid on site in a precise pattern.
Hellwinkel Daycare Center. Construction site photograph. Photograph © 2019 Schnepp Renou.

Campus Hellwinkel in Wolfsburg, Germany, consists of a primary school built in the 1950’s, a daycare center and a planned student cafeteria. The daycare center, scheduled for completion in 2020, accommodates six groups of children, with ages ranging from under one to six years old.

The load-bearing structure of the daycare center is made of sand-lime brick walls and precast concrete slabs. The façades are affordable standard brick laid on site in a precise pattern. The reddish-brown color of the brick is complemented by mortar joints and aluminium windows in similar tones. The interior walls are rendered with lime plaster. The building utilizes both natural and mechanical ventilation. No synthetic materials have been used in construction. The landscape design is by .

Hellwinkel Daycare Center
TypeDaycare center
LocationReislinger Straße 30, 38446 Wolfsburg, Germany
TimelineCommission 2016, design development 2016–2018, construction 2019–2020, completion 2020
SizeGross floor area 1 600 m², net usable area 1 000 m²
Cost6 000 000 EUR
ClientCity of Wolfsburg
ArchitectEsa Ruskeepää
TeamAntti Canth, Zita Floret, Bertille Gosset, Matias Kotilainen, Simon Mahringer (project architect), Thomas Miyauchi, David Pfister
CollaboratorsDohle+Lohse Architekten (project manager, local partner), Wenzel + Wenzel (project manager, local partner), SUSG Ingenieurgesellschaft (structural engineer), GEO-LOG Ingenieurgesellschaft (geotechnical engineer), Vogt Landschaft (landscape architect), iwb Ingenieurgesellschaft (building services engineer), ims Ingenieurbüro Michael Schrader (electrical engineer), AAS (acoustical engineer), Brandschutzberatung Kröger (fire protection engineer), HR Ingeniergesellschaft für Fördertechnik (elevator consultant), BPR (drainage consultant), Büro Scholz (kitchen consultant), energum (building energy simulation analyst), Gerd-Rüdiger Sens Ingenieurbüro (health and safety coordinator)

Campus Bern BFH

Campus Bern BFH. View from under the A12 highway towards the new campus and the former oil tanks. Computer rendering.
Campus Bern BFH. View from under the A12 highway towards the new campus and the former oil tanks. Computer rendering.

The proposed new campus for the Bern University of Applied Sciences and Bern University of the Arts is located at Weyermannshaus-Ost, a former industrial site in the center of the city of Bern, Switzerland.

The campus will accommodate 4600 students and 1300 employees from the departments of business, health care and social work of the Bern University of Applied Sciences and departments of music, opera and theater of the Bern University of the Arts. Educational and cultural programs, including multiple performance venues, will be made available for a wide audience outside the academic community. The presence of regional companies, startups, and art institutions will strengthen the campus’s role as a vessel of cultural and scientific exchange.

The architecture is based on a highly adaptable modular framework made exclusively of exposed structural timber and concrete. A column grid of 7.5 x 10 meters strikes a balance between material efficiency and flexibility. The façade and technical installations are completely separate from the structural frame. The structural timber concept was developed in collaboration with Swiss engineer . The landscape design is by .

Campus Bern BFH
TypeUniversity campus, concert hall
LocationWeyermannshaus-Ost, 3008 Bern, Switzerland
TimelineCompetition 2018
SizeGross floor area 77 000 m², net usable area 38 200 m²
ClientBern University of Applied Sciences, Bern University of the Arts
ArchitectEsa Ruskeepää
TeamAntti Canth, Simon Mahringer, Andrei Poutanen, Benjamin Schulman
CollaboratorsJosef Kolb (structural engineer, fire protection engineer), Brühwiler (structural engineer), 3-Plan Haustechnik (building services engineer), Maurus Schifferli (landscape architect)

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Scale model 1:1000. Cast paraffin wax.
Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Scale model 1:1000. Cast paraffin wax. Photograph © 2013 Erkka Luutonen.

The proposed new building for the Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture is a central element of an extensive urban renewal project of Otaniemi campus in Espoo, Finland. The masterplan for the campus and the iconic main building for the Helsinki University of Technology was designed by Alvar Aalto in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Aalto University was established in 2010 as a merger of three major Finnish universities: Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki School of Economics, and University of Art and Design Helsinki. The emergence of new interdisciplinary programs and projects at Aalto University require radical programmatic flexibility and openness.

A generous square grid of cast-on-site concrete columns and flat slabs is developed to provide the necessary versatility. The building can be continuously reprogrammed simply by manipulating the boundaries between the departments while preserving the characteristics of each discipline’s core. Endless in principle, the grid is interrupted by arbitrary decisions that lend the building its final form: platonic matter shaped by subjective evaluation and contextual constraints.

A series courtyards and gardens, accessed from a sheltered perimeter on the ground floor, create memorable entry points for the new school. The enclosed, intensively urban outdoor spaces stand in contrast to the surrounding modernist greenfield campus.

Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
TypeUniversity campus
LocationOtaniemi, 02150 Espoo, Finland
TimelineCompetition (2nd prize) 2012–2013
SizeGross floor area 47 000 m², net usable area 28 700 m²
ClientAalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture
ArchitectThomas Miyauchi, Esa Ruskeepää
TeamTero Hirvonen, Matias Kotilainen, Sasu Marila, Sanna Nordlander, Francesco Salvarani, Lauri Virkola
CollaboratorsBuro Happold (structural engineer, building services engineer, transport planning consultant), Masu Planning (landscape architect), Hubconcepts (campus planning consultant)

Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule

Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule. Continuously formed structure of cast-in-situ concrete walls, beams and slabs. Computer rendering.
Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule. Continuously formed structure of cast-in-situ concrete walls, beams and slabs. Computer rendering.
Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule
TypeComprehensive school
LocationKarlstraße 145-147, 74076 Heilbronn, Germany
TimelineLimited competition 2017
SizeGross floor area 3 700 m², net usable area 2 500 m²
ClientCity of Heilbronn
ArchitectEsa Ruskeepää
TeamAntti Canth, Matias Kotilainen, Simon Mahringer, David Pfister
CollaboratorsTEB (structural engineer, building services engineer)

Mafoombey

Mafoombey. Galerie Stihl, Waiblingen, Germany 25 Nov 2010 – 27 Feb 2011.
Mafoombey. Galerie Stihl, Waiblingen, Germany (25 Nov 2010 – 27 Feb 2011). Photograph © 2011 Peter Oppenländer.

Mafoombey is a portable, recyclable space for experiencing sound and music. It is made entirely of corrugated cardboard. The design combines sophisticated digital fabrication and primitive, stacked assembly. The exposed edges of corrugated cardboard create a semi-open structure that provides a unique acoustic ambience.

The cardboard sheets measuring 1.25 x 2.5 meters are cut by a computer numerical control prototyping robot (CNC). No glue is used in the construction – the structure is held together by its own weight. Mafoombey can be assembled and disassembled within a single day. Stacked on pallets, the sheets fit in a regular sized truck for transportation.

Mafoombey
TypeExhibition pavilion
TimelineCompetition (1st prize) 2005, completion 2005
ClientUniversity of Art and Design Helsinki
Architect, Esa Ruskeepää
TeamMartin Lukasczyk
CollaboratorsStora Enso (corporate sponsor)