The project for the new Tikkurila Church and Housing was realized in close collaboration between the architects, the builder, and the client. From start to finish, the design process included regular workshops with representatives of the many different user groups of the future building and the final design was developed in interaction with them. The goal was to create a multifunctional building that provides for the needs of the growing and increasingly multicultural community consisting of students, families, working people and elderly. The desire was to create a spatial program that supports the transition to a more collective and interactive working style to allow for a more participatory experience and to facilitate an atmosphere of sharing and caring in the community. The aim was to create a building that provides an easily accessible and open place for gathering, a place of lively activity both in and around the building, yet also offers a sense of comfort and calm, a place to withdraw to from the hectic everyday. The multifunctional complex contains a church with flexibly adaptable spaces, a café, kids’ corner, meeting spaces for the community, an office wing as well as an adjoining apartment building with student housing and affordable rental apartments offering shared spaces for communal use including saunas, roof terraces, laundry facilities, gathering spaces, and bike storage. The yard provides a pleasant space for gatherings. The church hall seats 500, and it is possible to divide the space to allow for multiple simultaneous activities. The acoustics are designed to adapt to diverse performances from small concerts to large orchestras and theatre. With its lively multicolored brick façade and strong sculptural shape, the Tikkurila Church and Housing take on a strong presence on the town square. Entering in dialogue with the surrounding buildings predominantly made with brick, the church forms an identifying landmark for the neighborhood. The scale and volume of the block is at once compact and variable. The steeply angled pitched roofs with glazed burnt brick form an important part of the identity of the block. They also make it possible to give an autonomous identity to the church in the corner even though it is integrated in the block. The personal experience of people was an essential starting point for the architecture. The building is intentionally designed to function as an interface mediating between the public, semi-public and the private space in and around the church and housing. With large windows on the ground floor opening to both the square and the yard, one is invited to fluently move from the square into the lobby and cafeteria and to continue from there either to various kinds of events and concerts in the church hall and the adjacent spaces, or out into the yard with spaces for shared use. Alternatively, one can progress onto the communal meeting and workshop spaces on the second floor, and further on to the offices with spaces for concentrated work. Until 2018, the block was home to the old Tikkurila Church built in 1956, an administrative building and the council hall, both from 1976. There was also a bank, an office building in the block and parking places. The old church was a rectilinear building with two stories and a basement. Red brick was used as the façade material, and the building had a concrete structure and a pitched roof. The church hall had seating capacity for 282 people, which was too small for the growing community. There was no elevator in the building, making it difficult to accommodate people with restricted mobility. In 2013, the use of the old church was ordered to be discontinued due to mold induced problems. With the Town Hall on the opposite side of the town square, the church was one of the few remaining buildings from the 1950s in Tikkurila. Therefore, special attention to the historical modernist values of the area was required in designing a new building to replace the old one that was deemed unfit for repair. In creating the new church to replace the old one, there was a strong commitment to create an easily accessible and open gathering place that people could take as their own. The building has been warmly welcomed and embraced by the community, and the level of the activity of its use has surpassed even the highest expectations. It has also succeeded in supporting in a radical transformation of the working style in the social services towards a more interactive engagement. Forming one unity with a diversity of functions the complex provides common space to facilitate a sense of community. The building was designed with the goal of creating a building that lasts for 200 years. Burnt brick is the main material in the exterior. In the interiors, concrete and wood create an interesting dynamic. The chosen materials will acquire a beautiful patina over time. In addition to the material choices for creating a building that will endure time well, also social sustainability was key. The human scale, accessibility, and life cycle sustainability have been central guiding principles in the design. The shape and the scale of the building follow these key principles. Around the entrances, the scale is lower and more moderate, making them inviting and approachable. It grows bigger and taller in the part containing the main church hall, reaching up high towards the light that enters the space in a delicately subtle manner. In the interiors, the atmosphere is cozy and relaxed. Carefully framed views open into the surrounding city scape and to the interior courtyard as well as over the green roofs of the office wing of the church. The clay roofs are complemented with green roofs and roof gardens providing a sense of greenery for spaces above them. The sloping roof makes it possible to create variability to the apartments allowing for duplex units on the upper floors. The building is designed with places for solar panels.
OOPEAA works on a wide range of projects from churches and public buildings to housing and urban visions. There is an active focus on research and development with an emphasis on solutions that support social and ecological sustainability.
For OOPEAA, the goal in architecture is to create better life. In their work, a sense of care, an attitude of curiosity and an understanding of the context are key. Combining a sculptural form with traditional materials and innovative techniques, OOPEAA brings together new ideas with experience and a sense of respect for tradition and locality. Their architecture finds its inspiration in the state of being in between, between urban and rural; between a deep respect for tradition and an appreciation of the contemporary; rooted in the local and yet part of a larger international context. The work of OOPEAA has been recognised with some of the highest merits achievable both in Finland and internationally including the Finlandia Prize for Architecture
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