NKS Speakers


Aaro Artto

Artto, Palo ,Rossi, Tikka Architects, APRT Oy

Artto Aaro is partner and chief architect of APRT, a Helsinki-based international studio for architecture, city planning and design founded in 1994 together with architects Teemu Palo, Yrjö Rossi and Hannu Tikka. APRT has been bestowed with a number of other prestigious awards. Among them are the Finnish State Prize for Architecture in 2008 (for dedicated work in service of Finnish contemporary architecture), the Rose for Building award in 2008 (Vuosaari Harbor), the Wooden Structure of the Year Award in 2002 (Sibelius Hall Congress and Concert Hall in Lahti 2000) and the Finnish Concrete Award in 1999 (Raisio Library and Auditorium 1999) and 2008 (Vuosaari Harbor).

APRT became known in 1994 when it won the international architecture competition for urban planning of the Danish Ørestad region which led to a 10 year long assignment.

Arto Aaro is the principal designer of the spectator stand and multipurpose building “Railo” in the sports arena in Rovaniemi, completed in 2015. Railo is the recent winner of the Finlandia Prize for Architecture 2016, awarded by the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA) and selected by former Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen.

Another building by APRT in Rovaniemi is “Pilke”, office and exhibition building for State Forest Enterprice /Metsähallitus, completed in 2010. This completely wooden structure building won the Wooden Structure of the Year award in 2011. In 2010 APRT also won the invitation competition for Rovaniemi Border Guard Area Master Plan. The area is currently being developed.



Emma Johansson

Studio Puisto Oy

Emma Johansson cofounded Studio Puisto together with four other young architects; Heikki Riitahuhta, Willem van Bolderen, Mikko Jakonen and Sampsa Palva in 2014. Studio Puisto has been awarded several prizes and honorable mentions both in Finland and abroad.

Studio Puisto believes that constructing in a sustainable manner pays off without compromising on a beautiful and functional end result. “Ecological, economical, and social ambitions come together in our projects.” Special expertise includes use of wood and other natural and sustainable materials and low and zero-energy design principles. In Emma Johansson own words

“For me, the most important part of working as an architect is working together with the client to find the best possible solutions for each project in hand. I am at my strongest in projects that require a certain sensibility, a strong vision and balancing between different ambitions”.

In Rovaniemi “Arctic TreeHouse Hotel” including about 30 individual shingled “treehouses” placed on pillars in the woods were completed in autumn 2016. NKS speakers will be accommodated in these.



Janne Pihlajaniemi 

M3 Architects

Janne Pihlajaniemi (b.1970), architect, D.Sc. (Tech.), is Professor of Architecture at Oulu School of Architecture. He is also a partner in M3 Architects, together with Kari Nykänen and Henrika Pihlajaniemi. Since 2000, M3 Architects have worked on a wide range of projects, from building design and urban planning to lighting design. Janne Pihlajaniemi’s main works include St Andreas Church in Oulu (2004), the Metsola children’s home (2007) and Talvikangas school (2016). He has served on the juries of architectural competitions and holds several positions of trust, including the vice-chairmanship of SAFA in 2007-2008, and as a representative of Finnish schools of architecture on collaborative Nordic and EU bodies.



Ilkka Salminen

Verstas Architects Oy

Ilkka Salminen cofounded the Helsinki-based architectural firm Verstas Architects in 2004 together with three architects; Väinö Nikkilä, Jussi Palva and Riina Palva. Verstas became initially known with two 1:st prize school designs; Kirkkojärvi School in 2006 and Saunalahti School in 2007 both in Espoo Finland. Besides learning environments, Verstas Architects firm has completed a great number of public, residential, commercial and urban design projects. Verstas Architects has been placed first in many architectural competitions, recently in the open competition for the 39 000 m2 extension of Lapland Central Hospital in Rovaniemi, Finland in 2015, scheduled for completion in 2022 (1:st phase). In 2013 Verstas won the international competition for the 50 000 sqm Aalto University Core Campus in Espoo, Finland, which is currently under construction and due to be completed in 2018. Numerous competition winning entries and successfully accomplished major works have established Verstas as one of the leading offices in Finland. In 2015 Verstas Architects received the Finnish State Award for Architecture, specially for representing new school architecture of exceptionally high quality.


Heidi Bjøru

Heidi Bjøru

Municipality of Tromsø

Heidi Bjøru is project leader for the Nordbyen-project, an exciting new urban development project in Tromsø. This project is part of an ongoing research on the possibilities of resilience and adaptation of cities to the challenges of climate change, such as sea level increase, the need to improve water management and blue-green structures, the urban design as a response to local climatic conditions –wind, sun-. The transformation of the industrial landscape of Nordbyen is a great opportunity to rethink Tromsø center in terms of a carbon neutral energy balance and soft mobility. Part of the ongoing process was to elect four resource groups consisting of architects and other experts to reflect on different strategies. The vision is that Nordbyen will strengthen the role of Tromsø as Arctic Capital.


Hans Murman

Hans Murman

Murman arkitekter AB

Hans Murman, Murman Arkitekter, set up by Hans Murmann in 1985. The first big projects were Ramundbergets Fjällby 1989 and Sturegallerian in Stockholm in 1990. The firm has also worked with interior and furniture design. Since startup the studio has steadily grown. Since 2014 it has two shareholders. Murman is elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts since 2011. He is a sought after jury member for architecture competitions. Murman is one of the foremost Swedish architects designing a variety of buildings for tourism; vistors center, mountain top cottage Kebnekaise (highest mountain in Sweden), tourist center at Laddjujávri on the way up to Kebnekaise, mountainside restaurant at Swedish ski-resort Hemavan, also a winning design for Sami Parliament in Kiruna. He is especially interested in working in our Northern Region.



Pirjo Sanaksenaho

Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, Aalto University

Sanaksenaho, who has established a career as both a practicing architect and teacher of architecture, began her position as associate professor of building and design at Aalto University on 1.12.2013. She graduated as an architect at Helsinki University of Technology in 1993. As a third year student of architecture she worked for Raili and Reima Pietilä. and was involved in designing the president´s official residence Mäntyniemi in Helsinki. In 1997 she cofounded Sanaksenaho Architects, together with husband Matti Sanaksenaho.

Notable design projects include: Vaasa student housing (1996–1997), Turku Ecumenical Art Chapel (2005), Aurorakoti seniors’ housing (2006), Finnish Student Health Service (YTHS) extension (2010) and Cipea villa, Nanjing (2012). Sanaksenaho has been a teacher in housing design at Aalto University, 2000–2013. Sanaksenaho is also head of the Research Institute for Health Care Facilities (Sotera) that is a unit operating within the Department of Architecture at Aalto University.