first reported on the work of A-KONSULTIT architects in a
2003 news article that brought to our reader's attention their
important new auditorium work at Alvar Aalto's Helsinki University
in Finland. The firm pushed the boundaries of building information
modeling integration with the client and entire design team
using the award-winning ArchiCAD software program on the Macintosh
longtime user of the virtual building model approach, the
firm says their interest in what they call the "3D product
model approach" isn't about just drawings -- something
they say they still enjoy doing
by hand (from time to time) -- but rather about the multiple
benefits that come from the model itself. 2D drawings are
just one aspect of that.
this interview architect Jyrki Iso-Aho, SAFA, of A-KONSULTIT
architects discusses the many aspects of BIM, the value of
3D models in practice, and why the firm has chosen to practice
on the Mac platform for over 15 years.
first heard about your firm via an ArchiCAD press release
regarding your firm's important work on the Aalto University
in Helsinki. Can you tell me a little more about your firm
and its background?
firm has quite a long history. It was started in the early
sixties by architects Eric Adlercreutz and Nils-Hinrik Aschan.
From the late sixties
to early eighties the main body of the office was town planning
and housing projects, with occasional public buildings --
for example the Finnish Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, in the
mid-seventies. From the early eighties on we have been doing
more public buildings, such as schools and day-care centers.
Also restoration and renovation of historical buildings has
become an important part of the practice.
Where is the practice located?
practice is located in central Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
How many architects and design professionals are on staff?
Is the firm one of the larger practices in Finland?
In Finland most architectural offices are small studio-like,
the average size I think is about two to four architects.
There are only a handful of offices with personnel over 50.
Although we have today only 15 architects and design professionals,
we are one of the bigger offices in this country!
It looks as though your firm's work is a bit industrial in
character in addition to being contemporary. Is this a reflection
of the firm's commissions? I have noticed -- for example --
that your firm has done some work for an airport involving
the master planning of a new terminal and car park.
we have not been doing much for that industry. The airport
master plan is more like a part of our longtime interest in
town and master planning. The leader of our town planning
department, Staffan Lodenius, is professor in the architectural
department in the Tampere University of Technology. We have
been involved in the master plans for three Finnish airports.
So you have an architectural professor on staff. Is your practice
one where there is a strong connection to academia?
particularly, I think five of us have had some teaching practice
in universities over the years.
Can you tell me a bit about the Puotilan Asemanseutu project?
Is this a housing project?
is indeed a public low-cost housing project...85 apartments
in all. It started as an open 'design&construct' competition
which we won a few years ago.
Is the "architectural design competition" a common means for
your firm to obtain new work or do you enter the competitions
for some other reason -- like for the intellectual stimulation
are always nice to do, for the stimulation and challenge as
you said. Also the client who takes the trouble to organize
a competition usually expects something over the ordinary,
which is always welcome. And yes, it has always been a means
to obtain work. We are quite often invited to limited or Design&Construct
competitions, and have been especially successful in them.
I have noticed the nice drawings for the Konala project.
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