The first phase of Kåren, the Student Union building of Åbo Akademi University, comprised the festival and meeting hall with its foyer, a kitchen and the student union office. The lush vegetation of the Observatory hill continued into the yard. The old wooden building on Hämeenkatu street was used as a canteen and club.
The external architecture of the first phase is Bauhaus-inspired functionalism. The building is of rendered brick with concrete floor beams, apart from the ceiling on the top floor which has a wooden structure. The brick-floored entrance hall, straight flight of stairs, foyer and festival hall together form an impressive series of spaces. The festival hall with its wooden panels and curved ceiling above the stage represent a more dynamic corporeal architecture. The al secco painting on the wall of the festival hall was painted by Gunnar Clement in 1947–50. Kåren has a very significant role in the student and cultural life of Turku.
The design of the student dormitory began soon after the old wooden house burned down in 1939. More detailed design drawings were made in 1945. The Student Union facilities – the restaurant, club rooms, music room and lounge – were placed on the first floor. The dormitory itself is situated on the three upper storeys. Some of the rooms have their own washrooms, but toilets and showers were originally in the corridors for shared use. The interiors were designed by Carin Bryggman.
Text: Mikko Laaksonen