We have a long tradition of urban design, but we master the whole scale of built environments from cities to buildings, from public hospitals and day care centres to private homes. We aim at holistic design and the widening of perspectives.
We often wonder how we could benefit from existing resources. We are interested in historical layers, their restoration and reuse in new functions and contexts. Architecture is a living part of a city. It requires constant care and critical thinking, so we don’t lose some of its essential values and qualities. We work conceptually, draw by hand and by computer, build scale models and visualize our ideas. Apart from working with our hands, we value learning through thinking.
Our employees are active in teaching and research both at home and abroad. The office and its partners have worked professionally and academically in over 30 countries. Works by Harris-Kjisik Architects have been widely published in professional literature and journals and have been seen in major exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale. The office has won more than forty prizes in architectural competitions, both nationally and internationally, and many of these successes have led to direct commissions as a result of our continuous search for new innovative ideas and solutions.
Harris & Kjisik
As a young man, Trevor Harris (b. 1949) dreamt of a career in theatre. After an interview for the drama school he met someone who took him to listen to a fierce crit at the local architecture school. ”Screw the theatre, this is life” Harris thought when he realised that architecture was the stage of real life.
In the beginning of the 1970s, Harris, whilst undertaking an internship in Finland he met Hennu Kjisik (b. 1948) when both acted as competition assistants to the very successful group of architects known as Katras. When they started doing competitions on their own they immediately got a prize on their first try. Kjisik then spent the early 1980s in Africa but after that, in 1985, the office was officially established. After having largely concentrated on urban design the office now covers the whole field of architecture and the growing office now also has two younger partners, Henna Iinsalo and Hannu Louna.
Areas of expertise
Our practice has 30 years of experience of urban design and planning. We are regarded as pioneers in the field but we still continually look for new ways of thinking as well as recreating existing models and solutions while aiming at continuing the discussions on what the roles of the different actors in the field will be in the future. Our vision is sustainable, green, and sociable.
Cure and Care
We want to promote healing and improved everyday life when we plan hospitals, and other buildings for cure and care. In our design decisions, we always consider the wellbeing of both the human being and the natural environment.
Inspiring learning environments
Day care centres and schools are the springboards for tuning a child’s curiosity about the world around them. So the design of a school or a day care centre is not just about solving the puzzle presented by the room schedule. We are interested in the users, their identities and needs. Logic meets humanity. We are keen to dive into the scale of the children, we want to design spaces for the future.
The office has had activities in more than twenty countries outside Europe. We have had commissions from United Nations’ organisations and international development banks, as well as bilateral development partners.
ARA – Asumisen rahoitus- ja kehittämiskeskus
Autismi- ja Asperger-liitto
DOMUSS Real Estate Development
Eesti TV ja Radio
Fira Group Oy
Helsingin ja Uudenmaan sairaanhoitopiiri
Jyväskylän Matkakeskus Oy
Port de Bruxelles
Rakennusliike Evälahti Uusimaa Oy
YIT Rakennus Oy
Ääneseudun kehitys Oy
Awards and exhibitions
Finnish State Award for Architecture (Harris and Kjisik)
Knight 1st Class of the Finnish Order of the White Rose (Kjisik)
The O.I. Meurman prize for urban planning achievements in design work and teaching (Harris ja Kjisik)
Cure and Care – Healing Spaces then and now, The Museum of Finnish Architecture (Kjisik and Louna)
“The Visionary Pen – 30 years of Urban Utopias” – sketches by Trevor Harris (exhibition was part of the Helsinki Design Week)
Oskari Vilamo prize for the best doctoral thesis of the year in the field of technology (Kjisik)
Knight 1st Class of the Finnish Order of the White Rose (Harris)
Venice Biennale – Office’s Helsinki Eastern Harbour scheme representing Finland
Venetsian Biennale – Riga Maskavas project.
Team since 1985
Marta de Abreu Hartman
Beatriz Cerdan Rovira
Hugo Castaneda Chavez
Sudar Oli Gunasekaran
Leif Högfeldt Hansen
Ip Kwan Yui
Marcela de Lara
Laia Lara Sans
Sofia de Vocht