Press release 12.12.2017

The Building Art Society awarded an artist and log builder

Erik Kråkström Wood Building Award, given by the Building Art Society (Rakennustaiteen Seura), went to Hannes Aleksi, founder of the log building company Hongos.

Traditional log carving is a form of art

Hannes Aleksi worked previously as a graphic designer and illustrator, but decided to quit sedentary work and learned the log carving craft. Visual design however wasn’t left behind but found its expression in the log building craft. Each traditional hand carved log house is a unique piece of art and a shared creation of the architect and above all, the customer.

Hannes Aleksi strongly believes in the possibilities of log building in the future, but the trade is facing several difficult challenges such as lack in occupational training, lack of quality logs and, from log building’s perspective, unfair energy saving standards that are not possible to fulfil by massive building logs. These are aspects that would need to be swiftly tackled, so that the log building tradition in Finland will be preserved and keep developing.

-Each traditional hand-carved log house is a unique piece of art that is a shared creation of the architect and, above all, the customer.

Log art for public buildings

Hannes Aleksi’s favourite work phase of making a log building is hewing, which means decorational cuts made on the logs’ surface. Handmade hewing has almost magical, eternal beauty, and this lends itself for spatial art applications in public buildings. By bringing the hand carved logs to the council buildings, hospital, library or the airport, the log building tradition stays present also in the modern person’s world.  Logs as a material are very versatile however the future of log building requires creative cooperation. I consider this award as a significant recognition of our craft.

Hooray for the logs!

History of the award

At his 80thbirthday, the proferssor, architect Erik Kråkström had a wish that any possible gifts would be directed to a bank account, that would later form the Building Art Society’s Wood Building Award fund. When he then passed away in2009, the fund received more capital and the award was renamed as the Erik Kråkström -Wood Building Award. 

The award is given to a person or a collective that has specifically contributed into the traditional wood building craft. This distinguishes the award from the ”Wood Award” given by the Finnish Timber Council (Puuinfo), which considers the whole field of wood building and often gives the prize for new innovative ways of using wood. 

The Wood Building Art Society’s Wood Building Award was first given in 2001 to the documentarist and researcher Alfred Kolehmainen, MSc (Philosophy). 

The winner of the Award is selected each year by the board of the Wood Building Art Society.