These two adjected buildings represent the general tendency of the 1980s to bring high-quality architecture to all people, including the children and the elderly. The daycare centre Taikurinhattu, completed in 1984 and the retirement home Himmeli, completed in 1989 were the first experiment of joining two institutional care functions together. After completion, Taikurinhattu and Himmeli became a popular site among architects, architecture students and institutional care planners. In 1989 alone, over 4,000 people from 17 countries visited the site.
In the timber-framed daycare centre, Raili and Reima Pietilä aimed to create a new kind of ‘children’s architecture’. In the middle of the buildings is located a song and play hall, a kind of central square of children’s town, which is surrounded by wings for children of different ages, resembling small houses. Chamfered corners and windows of various shapes make the buildings look smaller than they actually are, while a folding canopy binds the composition together.
Taikurinhattu [Magician’s Hat] was named after the third book in the world-famous Moomin book series by the Finnish author and artist Tove Jansson. The hall at the daycare centre is decorated with Tove Jansson’s wall painting series The Seasons. Jansson’s partner, graphic designer and artist Tuulikki Pietilä was Reima Pietilä’s sister. The two couples had several joint work projects.
The retirement home consists of two wings for private rooms with common spaces between them. The ground floor has a service centre that can also be used by elderly people from the area. The bay windows, together with the contrast between dark brick tiles and white ceramic tiles liven up the facades. The institutional character of the central corridors was reduced by small nooks and fireplaces and by using colourful ceramic tiles on walls and floors. The grounds of Himmeli were designed by landscape architect Maj-Lis Rosenbröijer.
Text: Kristo Vesikansa