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Final Frame: Amos Rex, Helsinki

JKMM Architects has renovated Lasipalatsi, an iconic example of 1930s Finnish modernism, to provide a new home for the Amos Anderson Art Museum, now called Amos Rex. The former office and cinema complex has been extended with a series of subterranean galleries that bulge up into the public square above. Passers-by can walk over the mounds, which are clad in geometric concrete tiles, and peer in through circular windows at the artworks below.

Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo

From the archive: AUTUMN 1976


In 1970s Oxbridge, the H-frames of Arup Associates’ Philip Dowson were becoming as ubiquitous as future Cabinet ministers. By the time he designed the Sir Thomas White Building, Dowson had been honing the system for over a decade on university buildings in Oxbridge and beyond. Now, with St John’s, one of the wealthiest Oxford colleges, as his client, he took the opportunity to perfect it, lavishing the block of study-bedrooms with a frame “rich in architectural pleasures”.

The richest of these pleasures was the high-quality white precast concrete, which was made from grey limestone aggregate and white cement and then bush-hammered. The frame was finely detailed, creating “an overall texture of great intricacy and depth … which stops short of being over-elaborate”. As at the earlier Leckhampton House at Corpus Christi in Cambridge, the edges of each frame were sliced off to create eight-sided window openings, while the junctions between the standardised elements were exaggerated to show the method of construction. Latticed screens behind the double glazing added another layer of interest.

The book, The World Recast: 70 Buildings from 70 Years of Concrete Quarterly, is out now, available from 

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