Competing for a place in holiday history—and a ten-week paid internship at the Oslo office of Snøhetta—entrants from fifty-nine countries submitted 243 proposals for a new logistics center for a very singular client: iconic global trading magnate, Santa Claus.
The “Unbelievable Challenge” competition was organized by Finnish firm Ruukii Construction, the City of Oulu (Finland), Helsinki Design Week, and Snøhetta. Designs were evaluated not only for aesthetics, but for energy efficiency, sustainability, and suitability for the harsh climate conditions of the site, the Perävainio district of Oulu.
The jurors were unanimous in their praise for the entries, and singled out several finalists for special mention.
Of the winning project, titled Nothing is Impossible by Alexandru Oprita and Laurentiu Constantin of Romania (above), the panel stated, “The strength of this proposal is being able to exhibit an idea of surprise and magical character within the building itself. The magic happens at nighttime on the building’s facade and there’s a link to the investor—Mr. Santa Claus. It is feasible and innovative but not futuristic. It is also well thought through, from land use all the way to detailing.”
The five short-listed finalists (surely also on Santa’s nice list)—whose projects, we notice, feature parking lots and loading docks instead of reindeer stables (below)—received that ever-reliable Christmas fallback gift: cash.