Skip navigation

Architect of Helsinki Airport receives Glass Constructor of the Year award

Article published
16.5.2019 at 15:00
Helsinki-Vantaan arkkitehdille Vuoden lasirakentaja -palkinto
Tuomas Silvennoinen, partner and Design Director at PES-Architects Ltd, has been chosen as the 2019 Glass Constructor of the Year. The board of Suomen Tasolasiyhdistys (“The Finnish Flat Glass Association”) gave the following reasons for the choice: Tuomas Silvennoinen has made important contributions as a designer of various kinds of impressive buildings where glass structures play a key role both on facades and in the interiors. Glass brings openness and transparency to a space, and if the design is done correctly, it makes the space feel calm and safe.

A good example of a great glass design is the West Terminal 2 building of the Port of Helsinki, which has won many awards. The terminal is a remarkable feat of architecture that combines openness, design and light to create a pleasant experience for passengers. The extension of Helsinki Airport, where Finnish design plays a key role, also aims for the same kind of high-quality passenger experience. Tuomas Silvennoinen has also introduced Finnish architectural expertise to other countries. His most notable foreign work is the Icon YunDuan skyscraper in Chengdu, China.


With the Glass Construct of the Year and the Glass Constructor of the Year awards, the Finnish glass industry wants to highlight exceptional glass constructs and versatile glass designs that promote a culture of high-quality glass construction. The jury consisted of the board and the Executive Director of Suomen Tasolasiyhdistys ry.

The jury’s reasons for their choice of the winner

Tuomas Silvennoinen is an architect who has understood the opportunities glass offers as a transparent material, and he knows how to use glass to create impressive and functional designs. In other words, he is paving the way for glass construction to take a key—but often subtle—role in building design. And not any kind of glass constructs, but constructs that have been designed in cooperation with glass industry professionals. This ensures the functionality of the structure in every building. Natural light, energy efficiency, comfort and cost-effectiveness will also ensure the client’s satisfaction far into the future.

Award ceremony at Helsinki Airport

Helsinki Airport is in the middle of the largest extension project in its history. A total of 103,000 m2 of new space will be added to the terminal, and the total floor area of the terminal will increase by 45%. The value of the investment in the Helsinki Airport development programme is over EUR 1 billion. The extension of the long-haul area was designed by PES-Architects Ltd, with Tuomas Silvennoinen as the head designer. The extension designed by PES-Architects consists of four new areas: the south pier, the west pier, Aukio and the extension of the border control area.

Finland and nature were at the heart of Finavia’s extension project: the aim was to create architecturally impressive spaces that create a calming and energising customer experience that appeals to the senses. In addition to improving the customer experience, the new facilities also increase the efficiency of fleet usage and help aircraft depart faster.

The 2019 Glass Constructor of the Year award was presented to Tuomas Silvennoinen on Finavia’s new premises (more exactly, next to the Moomin Cafe on the west pier) on 24 April 2019. Finavia’s representatives, Design Manager Kari Ristolainen and Sini Kaikkonen from Customer Research, who also acted as the host, as well as Anu Talja and Tapio Törrönen from the glass supplier Lasiliiri Oy were present at the ceremony. Two board members of Suomen Tasolasiyhdistys ry, Chairman Mika Selinko (Hämeen Lasitoimi Oy) and Tahvo Sutela (Lasifakta Oy) also took part in the event.

“I am grateful and flattered to receive the Glass Constructor of the Year award. I have often had to explain the benefits of large glass constructions. Passenger facilities highlight the importance of glass: glass allows passengers to see the runway and the surrounding landscape and to get their bearings, which makes it easy and pleasant to move through the airport,” says Tuomas Silvennoinen.

The airport’s glass structures

One of the most important qualities for glass structures at airports is their ability to insulate sound. The minimum values for sound insulation at the airport have been defined by an acoustician. Sound insulation measurement was performed on the finished facade as part of quality assurance to ensure that the requirements had been met. In addition to sound insulation, special attention was also paid to the safety and solar protection capability of the glass structures.

“At its best, glass construction amounts to efficient element construction,” says Tuomas Silvennoinen. Kari Ristolainen adds that using glass for this purpose was cheaper than using wall structures made from other materials.

A large number of Finnish companies have been involved in developing the airport. For glass construction, the contractor for the glass facade is Teräselementti Oy, to which Lasiliiri Oy, from Riihimäki, supplied around 20,000 m2 of glass. In addition, Lasiliiri Oy also supplied some glass for the interior glass structures, which were installed by Inlook Oy. Most of the interior glazing was done by Tambest Oy from Forssa.

Source: The press release by Suomen Tasolasiyhdistys ry, published on 25 April 2019

People & Aviation