Marja-Liisa Honkanen, Partner, Architect SAFA


Me and AS&H

I started with AS&H in 2014. The Tripla project was just beginning and I was asked to become the chief designer. I had to think about it as I had a good job, but eventually, I made my decision and joined AS&H. There were 25 employees here, more than half of whom were old acquaintances from years ago, including the founders of the company Kalle and Sami. We had been at the same company for a while, and even though it was six years ago I felt like returning to a familiar working community with old colleagues. I was confident and knew I would come to a community with a strong culture of doing things together. Good working culture and the interesting Tripla project confirmed my final decision to start with AS&H.

Work inspiration

I am most inspired by working with others, teamwork. A team gets so much more done than one person. I could say that when we have the right teak, we can create small wonders. This is emphasized in our work, which aims to create new solutions and solve problems – creatively. I always use creativity in my work. It is also wonderful that in our work one can enjoy the ideas of another as much as one’s own. Generally speaking, architecture is close to my heart; spatial experiences, lights and colours.

Work appreciation

We have a great working and corporate culture. We value freedom and responsibility, which gives us strong trust in our employees and our expertise. We can and want to give our best and use all our abilities. We have a low hierarchy, which can be seen, for example, through the free exchange of thoughts with anyone. Besides all this, we also have fun.

Proud of projects

I am proud that I had a chance to be part of the Tripla team. I was one of the four principal designers, responsible for design of the shopping centre Mall of Tripla, and for the parking lot. Tripla was a unique project in Finland, on a scale that is rare. This is a Central Pasila project, a three-block landmark that creates a new kind of cityscape. Tripla offers a wealth of professional challenges due to the scale of the project. One of the challenges was: how to maintain both the city centre scale and the human scale at the same time. Here we received design assistance from the Dutch architectural firm OMA whose starting point in design is spectacularity and enthusiasm, which differs somewhat from traditional Finnish thinking.

I’ve gotten to work on the station side of Tripla with Sweco Architects, which has brought its own positive additions to this project. All in all, Triple has increased my interest in my work, and best of all, I have learned a lot during this project.


I enjoy culture in all its various forms including literature, music, theatre and movies. I am fascinated by stories of different cultures and historical stories. In addition to this, nature and movement are especially important to me. I’m happier when I forget myself. For example, while looking at beautiful buildings or in the woods.