Marja-Riitta Norri Architects

The office concentrates mainly on housing. It was originally established in 1980 as a small studio and was changed to a limited company in 2000. Our area of expertise also includes public buildings, city planning and renovation.

Essential bases for our design work are the future users of the buildings and the identity of the built environment. We aim to achieve a 21st-century genius loci by combining traditions of architecture and visions of the future into beautiful and functional spaces built with sustainable technology.

In addition to a variety of published writings, she has also created a large body of architecture. … The housing estate in Westendinhelmi is an especially attractive example of the way in which she lays out residential and ancillary buildings, encourages interplay between volume and material, and succesfully dovetails public access, an undulating path in the landscape, with semiprivate areas in front of the buildings. The estate ‘Kampin keskuksen asuintalot’ demonstrates the ease with which she is able to handle large-scale dimensions as well as various materials and details.

This is not a top-of-the line architectural idiom nor trendy design vocabulary; instead Norri’s architecture speaks an intelligent, well-balanced and — if one might say so — timeless language.

Architect Annette Gigon in her expert's report given on M‑R Norri. Evaluation of the candidates for the Professorship in Housing Design, Helsinki University of Technology, 2007

Kamppi Centre Housing

Helsinki, Finland

Three apartment buildings at the centre of Helsinki.

Architecturally, the “Champ” was considered the best in terms of its above-ground element.

Jury’s assessment in the design and bidding competition for the Kamppi Centre

Dancing Harbour

Helsinki, Finland

Proposal “Dancing Harbour” for The Next Helsinki idea competition seeking for innovative ideas to the improvement of the cultural and public space of Helsinki.

Regatta Hotel and Merikatu Housing

Hanko, Finland

Hotel renovation and an apartment building.

Regatta Hotel in Hanko used to be in a rather bad shape a couple of years ago. Now it has been woken up. And how: the art nouveau castle has been decorated in a timeless way with sophisticated colours, stylish furniture and materials of high quality. As a result of the renovation, the spaces now have a fascinating rhythm. This is what I'd like to see more of.

Sami Sykkö, journalist

Westendinhelmi Housing

Westend, Espoo, Finland

Two terraced houses at Westend.

A resonance is set up between the two sides of the long court: from its comparatively constricted east end (where most people will approach it), it widens in the middle, then is slightly constrained again. Combined effects of the slope and the constriction, expansion, constriction sequence give the court a sense of privacy and informal generosity, enhanced by the fine trees and the way in which individual private gardens open to the green.… The scheme is reasonably dense, it respects the landscape and was finalized in detail by participation. Its approach could be adapted for many suburban sites and seriously lower budgets.

Peter Davey, The Architectural Review, June 2001

Kesäkuja Housing

Espoo, Finland

Two semi-detached houses and two detached houses in Espoo.

Hiidenportti 10 Houses

Espoo, Finland

Seven semi-detached houses in Espoo.

The Hiidenportti 10 houses in Espoo’s Kilo, near the border of Kauniainen, form a dense cluster occupying two plots and comprising seven semi-detached houses with car ports and maintenance buildings. There was a thick forest of mainly spruce on the site when construction began. Trees were preserved at the edges of the site. A group of slender pines was left on the gentle slope at the north-western corner, and in their midst is a playground for children. The wood-structured houses have three dwelling types, whose sizes are 99.5 m², 112 m² and 115 m². The facades are clad with broad horizontal wood panels. The colours are white, dark grey and red ochre. The facades of the homes are white or grey. The sheet metal roofs and window frames are dark grey. The red ochre painted outbuildings have a light roof growing sedum. Each home has a balcony, terrace, cool-off porch attached to the sauna, entrance deck with canopy and a small separate store.

House Tiainen

Espoo, Finland

A single-family house in Espoo.

House Ahtiainen

Helsinki, Finland

A single-family house in Helsinki.

Villa Harava (Rake)

Helsinki, Finland

Single-family house in Helsinki.

Villa Taikavuori

Helsinki, Finland

A single-family house in Viikinmäki, Helsinki.

Viikki Science Park apartments

Helsinki, Finland

Competition entry for apartments for students and researchers at Viikki Science Park campus.

The plan gives a pleasant park-like impression of the nature of the area. –– Apartment plans have been meticulously analysed and have turned out well. –– The entry's shared apartments are the best in the competition. –– The façades give a fresh impression.

Excerpts from jury's assesment of the competition entry.

Brick Park

Helsinki, Finland

Park plan for house fair area at Torpparinmäki.

Honkala Housing, Espoo

Espoo, Finland

Six attached one-family houses and one detached house.

The landscape of the hillside lot slanting to southwest has been skilfully utilized. The pairs of houses that are positioned to the same co-ordinate system, shape a uniform group of buildings that connects to the hillside in a natural way.

Eija Hasu & Anne Tervo: Honkala Housing Company: Murmuring Pines. Ark – Finnish Architectural Review 4/2009.

Kaupunkivillat Apartments, Espoo

Espoo, Finland

Terraced and semi-detached houses for the house fair at Kauklahti.

These city villas meander and intertwine in a pleasant layout although in fact they constitute a row house. As little as possible of the area of the sloping site has been built; instead, the houses are terraced to follow the slope.… It is agreeable to knock about the place. The houses are large enough and the auxiliary structures, such as lightweight car ports of concrete and batten, are small enough. The gravel roads are delightfully narrow, though they are drivable by car. Each house has an individual courtyard and terrace, in addition to which the site accommodates a playground for children.

Many successful details have been achieved by utilising the slope of the ground. The terraces are raised off the ground, which gives them privacy, and access to them is along stairs. Because of the level variation, there are lots of rails and fences, all stepped as well. Each apartment is furnished with a fireplace and a handsome exterior chimney built of old-fashioned brick. The overall outlook of the area consists of stairs, chimneys, wooden beams, batten and boarding.…

The city villas in Kauklahti do not boast with revolutionary floor plan or appearance. They are high-quality apartments set agreeably in a slope and favourably oriented. They constitute a genial, intimate quarter, which along with the growth of the greenery may well acquire some romance and mystery for the inhabitants’ delight.

Kirsti Larja, extracts from analysis of the city villas for the Wooden Town Studio of Helsinki University of Technology, 2007


Gifu, Japan

One-family house with wooden structure. Second prize in the international competition "To Fulfil a Woman's Dream” in 1994.

Villa Rosa

Vantaa, Finland

Detatched house in Vantaa.

A White House

Espoo, Finland

Detached house in Espoo.

Kaivopuisto Housing

Espoo, Finland

16 semi-detached houses at Leppävaara, Espoo.

The architecture of the project is of delightfully high quality.

Espoo Townscape Comittee, statement in favour of the project 04/03/2006

Päivänpirtti Housing, Espoo

Espoo, Finland

A single-family house, completed in 2004.

Poltinaho Housing, Hämeenlinna

Hämeenlinna, Finland

City of Hämeenlinna organized site development contests for the lots zoned on the old garrison area at Poltinaho. The office participated with plans for three of the lots and won with two of them. Planning came to a stop after the planning permission was received.

The asymmetrical form of the ridge roof gives the buildings a distinctive identity.… the block with its auxiliary buildings makes up an attractive and safe community.

Extract from the assessment of the competition entry Kirjograniitti, 05/28/2007

An entry of supreme artistic quality.… At best this scheme will produce a pioneering architectural ensemble in the Danish way.

Extract from the assessment of the competition entry Hämeen aika, 05/28/2007

Terraced houses

Ceuta, Spain

Winning entry in an international competition.

Jåttåvågen housing

Stavanger, Norway

Concept for one-family houses in the area.

Huittinen Library and Service Apartments

Huittinen, Finland

Huittinen Library and Kaariranta Service Housing form a group of buildings made of red bricks beside Särkimyssilta bridge that crosses river Punkalaidun.

Kuru, Soapstone Fireplace

Client: Tulikivi Corporation

Kartanonkreivi Housing, Helsinki

Helsinki, Finland

Two small blocks of flats in garden-like surroundings.