Government Office Building
The first phase of the Itis shopping centre buildings around is situated in the eastern and southern sides of the Tallinanaukio square in Itäkeskus. The two-unit complex is not so much a ’building’ as a vital part of the Itäkeskus structure, a dynamic junction and distributor point for various forms of traffic, and part of the main pedestrian axis linking the housing areas.
The basic approach of the design stemmed from the building’ position in the town plan, in an area strictly delimited by Tallinnanaukio square, the feeder bus station, the Itäväylä motorway, Turunlinnantie and the metro tracks. The existing metro station and deck and the ready plans for Hansasilta bridge were also influential.
The buildings mainly contain four floors of commercial premises. The large department stores are at the end of a glass-covered arcade on the same level as the metro deck of the shopping centre. Along the arcade and on other floors there are smaller shops and services. Ramps connect the arcade with the two lower floors and the parking area. The building also has an exit hall built by the metro authority and on the top floor a municipal health centre.
The Union Bank of Finland (SYP) building was constructed like a bridge over the metro tracks at the end of Tallinnanaukio square. It contains a branch of the bank and other commercial premises, with the bank’s training and staff facilities up on the roof level.
The main motif of the elevation to Itäväylä motorway – a horizontal illuminated glass lantern – forms a contrast in the townscape to the tall vertical landmark tower of Itäkeskus.
Brick cladding integrates the exteriors of the buildings with the whole Itäkeskus setting. Between the shopping centre interiors and the square is a zone built as a cold steel construction which contains canopies, steps, terraces and advertising hoardings. The elevations to Tallinnanaukio are made up of glass, glazed tile and clinker surfaces. The main motif of the bank building at the end of the square is a glass lantern in the two-storey banking hall which is extended up to roof level.
The central part of the building, the glass-covered arcade, has echoes of the old covered markets. The aim was to give the interior a clear shape, and a limpid, light look, to overcome the loud advertising and commercialism of the shops.
The shopping centre’s constructions systematically employ a prefabricated unit framework to enhance the steel and glass zones of the elevations and inside arcades. The SYP bank property was cast in situ, and the top floor is built on steel construction.
Architect Erkki Kairamo from Gullichsen Kairamo Vormala Architects was the principal designer of commercial development. Kairamo was assisted by architects Heikki Mäkinen and Keijo Koskinen. The Itis Shopping Centre (formerly known as ’Itäkeskus’) has been extended in two phases, in 1992 and 2001.
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 6/1985