Kalle Soini, Chairman of the Board, Partner, Achitect SAFA


Me and AS&H
I’m the founder of AS&H, even though I didn’t plan to start an architect office after my previous business. But things happen. Prior to founding AS&H, I worked on real estate development and devised design projects. I quickly noticed I couldn’t survive alone. I hired Kalle Ukonlinna and we started to do design work together. The assignments came so soon that we had to quickly establish an office. At this point, I contacted Sami Horto, whom I didn’t really know. I had once suggested in passing the idea of a joint venture and now I raised the idea again. Sami chuckled because he had just started in another place. However, I painted glorious images of the future and convinced him. And so in the spring of 2007, the architects office was born. Sami had a house project and divorce ongoing and my father was losing the battle with cancer. So it was a very bad moment to create anything new.

Our first office after we moved out of our garage office was a 50 square meter place in Kamppi. In the second year, our workforce rose to four and soon to eight. We grew. We moved. We made project plans and started development projects.

Our reputation was good, but we did not have enough muscle. We started with small projects at first, but they quickly started to get bigger, such as the Kämp Galleria renovation project… and then in 2010 came a request from YIT to work on a great project in Pasila (then known as Tripla). We got involved in a two-stage design competition. In the beginning, we made the design in cooperation with the ‘international star’ required by YIT, in this case, the Dutch Rem Koolhaas from OMA. However, OMA was left out of the project and we continued the design work alone. In August 2013, AS&H was announced as the winner of the architectural competition. This meant big decisions for our business, but we decided to take up the challenge. The contract was signed on 26 June 2014. At this point, we had 18 employees and so this started a big recruitment drive. There was also a need for quality assurance systems and authority approvals, to ensure that we were worthy to join this huge project.

The Tripla project is now, in September of 2019, in the final stages and we can say we have succeeded. We have stayed on schedule (even ahead of schedule in some stages) and received all building permits and investment decisions on time.

Work inspiration
I am excited about creating new and visible things, investing in architecture and making physical proof of our work. I’m also excited about things like new technologies. There must be challenges in life, it shouldn’t be too easy for too long. Today, I am also excited about how our business is developing and how I get our employees and customers excited.

Work appreciation
I value honesty, doing things together and working on the ground.

Proud of projects
Tripla is a signature project that I will always be proud of. I have been actively involved in the project since the very beginning, although during the past year I have been a little bit more in the background.

I am one for internal discussions, so I discuss things with myself. I do not give big decisions in a moment, instead, I look at things from different perspectives. In my world there is a large amount of grey, black and whiteness doesn’t speak to me. I rely on people. “This life is not so serious.”