Helsinki City Theatre
The Hanasaari power station, which is visible from several directions, is an important part of central Helsinki’s industrial cityscape. The Hanasaari B power station, designed by the architect Timo Penttilä, is located in Sörnäinen’s ‘power district’. The district also included the Hanasaari A power station, which has now been demolished, and the Suvilahti power station that is now a cultural centre. The area is an excellent example of roughly one hundred years of industrial development.
Heavy industrial construction is architecturally challenging because it must meet the stringent demands of the industrial processes. Penttilä successfully managed to lighten the appearance of the massive power plant by placing the heaviest functions at the centre of the plant. He grouped secondary facilities, such as offices, coal conveyors and service buildings, in smaller units around the generator building. He streamlined the cubic structures by concealing doors and other openings into the dark steel-clad surfaces. This ensures that the elevations look untouched.
Vertical mouldings provide visual references, which hide the seams of the prefabricated units with their load-bearing reinforced concrete pillars. Penttilä’s skilled use of subtle stylistic resources transformed an everyday production facility into a huge urban sculpture.