By the River Aura, in the historical centre of Turku, is the old ironworks block. The ironworks was founded in 1856, and it operated there until 1952. The oldest buildings in the block were designed by architect G.T. Chiewitz in 1856–1857, while the newest ones date back to the 1930s. The buildings are listed.

Today the block is occupied by the Faculty of Arts of Åbo Akademi University. The design of the faculty building, Arken, is based on my winning entry ”fabrik” of the 1997 invited architecture competition.

The renovation and extension work was carried out as four separate projects. The block comprises 13 separate building of varying styles and building materials, three of which are newbuild. Auxiliary and parking facilities were housed underground.

All central activities were placed as close together as possible. The organising space is the courtyard, at the end of which is the glazed main entrance of the building. A new ”furnace”, housing the main lecture halls and an auditorium, was conceived as the heart of the block. The faculty offices, auditorium, joint lecture rooms and café were arranged about the entrance hall. Glazed corridors and bridges interlink the buildings.

An L-shaped new building replaced the old storage buildings. It delineates the street corner, encloses the courtyard, and continues the architectural tradition of the Piispankatu street milieu by modern means. The joint faculty library was housed in the oldest building along Jokikatu street.

Retaining the original spirit and industrial character of the place have been the guiding principles for the design work. The principal architect of the complex was Pekka Mäki.

Text: Finnish Architectural Review 5/2004

Location

Tehtaankatu 2, Turku
60.45718416, 22.27958121

Images

Main entrance, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
Main entrance, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Jussi Tiainen / MFA)
View from the courtyard, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
View from the courtyard, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Jussi Tiainen / MFA)
View from the courtyard, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
View from the courtyard, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Jussi Tiainen / MFA)
View from the courtyard, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
View from the courtyard, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Jussi Tiainen / MFA)
Historical iron roof construction, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
Historical iron roof construction, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Jussi Tiainen / MFA)
Alley between café and auditorium, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
Alley between café and auditorium, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Jussi Tiainen / MFA)
Faculty Library, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
Faculty Library, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Jussi Tiainen / MFA)
Faculty Library, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
Faculty Library, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Jussi Tiainen / MFA)
Section plan, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
Section plan, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Sigge Architects)
Section plan, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
Section plan, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Sigge Architects)
Ground floor and 1st floor, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus
Ground floor and 1st floor, Åbo Akademi University Arken Campus (© Sigge Architects)