Building happiness

JKMM Architects used their philosophy of happiness to design the Finland Pavilion.

Building happiness

You can tell that the Finland Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 was designed by happy people. It was made by Finns, who are the happiest people in the world according to the UN’s World Happiness Report.

“Finland is unique in that we have developed an infrastructure for happiness,” explains Teemu Kurkela, Founder of JKMM Architects who designed the Finland Pavilion. “Happiness is not a soft goal or a feeling. Instead, happiness is a conscious public policy goal when we develop things like health or education.”

Happiness is expressed in architecture where the human and wellbeing are in focus. Spaces can enhance a sense of solidarity between individuals and cultures.

“People like to find connections to each other, because we really aren’t that different,” Kurkela explains. “The front of the pavilion is similar to the traditional Arabic tent. Yet the white surface was inspired by the thin white layer of snow that covers the Finnish landscape in the beginning of every winter. This is two cultures touching.”

Human contact has been curtailed in recent months, but as we manage the pandemic we should once again look forward to happy meetings. The central gorge of the Finland 
Pavilion is open to the public and was created as a place to meet. It is covered with curved wooden surfaces in a simple, minimalistic design.

“Architecture is a vessel for stories to be told, and the story will evolve over the course of the Expo,” says Kurkela. “I encourage people to attend and tell their own stories.”


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JKMM Architects

JKMM Architects

JKMM’s architecture has social responsibility at its core. We design buildings, which can help to increase happiness in society.

Traditionally we build societies only prioritising business and technology. Yet, this is only the base level. To thrive, communities need to aim higher, towards embracing Culture, Knowledge and Wellbeing. At the very highest level, the ultimate goal should be happiness. This is our goal when designing a sustainable society.

Architects have had an essential role in creating the infrastucture for happiness in Finland. We at JKMM Architects have been building Finnish happiness for more than 20 years.

Artikkelin asiantuntijat

Teemu Kurkela

Founder of JKMM Architects




Lapinrinne 3, 00100 Helsinki, Finland+358 9 2522 0700 info@jkmm.fi

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