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 for two 1st 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 (1st phase). In 2013 Verstas won the international competition for the 50 000 m2 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, especially for representing “new school” architecture of exceptionally high quality.