Turku Castle is one of the most important historical monuments in Finland. It was founded at the end of the 11th century as one of the royal castles of Sweden. The main keep was built from the 13th to 16th centuries and on April 20, 1614, during a visit by King Gustav II Adolf, it burned. After this, it was used for storage. The vaultings and intermediate floors decayed. At the end of the 19th century, the main keep was an open space from the roof to the cellar.

In 1939, Erik Bryggman was selected to design the restoration. During WWII the castle was badly damaged by Soviet air raids. Bryggman’s plans were presented in the Finnish Architectural Review Arkkitehti in 1944. The main solutions, such as the historical tour, had already found their final form. The aim was to use the castle as both a living museum and a meeting venue.

The repair work began in April 1946 with a new concrete roof to cover the northern wing. Also, the ceilings were mainly built in concrete, but many spaces received a wooden ceiling with exposed hand-crafted beams. Several new stairs were built in modernist style. The floors are of wood or laid in brick and thus giving a strong feeling of materiality. In 1951–52, star vaulting was built in the Nunnery Chapel as well as in the medieval King’s Hall with innovative concrete structures. For the King’s and Queen’s Halls on the Renaissance floor, Bryggman designed cassette ceilings. Olli Kestilä later designed the ceiling of the Queen’s Chamber.

Since 1949, interior designer Carin Bryggman, Erik Bryggman’s daughter was in charge of the interior design and furniture design of the castle. Turku Castle became her key work and she continued to work with the interior until 1992.

After Erik Bryggman’s death in December 1955, Olli Kestilä was appointed as the restoration architect. The latest restoration work which began in 2016 is designed by Kari and Merja Nieminen Architects and Mustonen Architects.

Text: Mikko Laaksonen

Location

Linnankatu 80, Turku
60.4356793, 22.2291487

Images

Harbour side, Turku Castle
Harbour side, Turku Castle (© Archinfo Finland)
Staircase tower connecting different parts of the castle, Turku Castle
Staircase tower connecting different parts of the castle, Turku Castle (© Mikko Laaksonen / Bryggman Institute)
Medieval stairway, Turku Castle
Medieval stairway, Turku Castle (© Antti Vaalikivi / Bryggman Institute)
Window niches with benches, hand-hewn wooden parts and antique glass window panes, Turku Castle
Window niches with benches, hand-hewn wooden parts and antique glass window panes, Turku Castle (© Antti Vaalikivi / Bryggman Institute)
Rebuilt vaulting of the medieval King’s Hall, completed in 1960, Turku Castle
Rebuilt vaulting of the medieval King’s Hall, completed in 1960, Turku Castle (© Antti Vaalikivi / Bryggman Institute)
Queen's Hall on the Renaissance floor, Turku Castle
Queen's Hall on the Renaissance floor, Turku Castle (© Mikko Laaksonen / Bryggman Institute)
Exhibition space in the attic designed by Erik Bryggman in 1946, Turku Castle
Exhibition space in the attic designed by Erik Bryggman in 1946, Turku Castle (© Antti Vaalikivi / Bryggman Institute)
The entrance hall creates separate routes to visit the medieval castle, the Renaissance floor and the bailey, Turku Castle
The entrance hall creates separate routes to visit the medieval castle, the Renaissance floor and the bailey, Turku Castle (© MFA)
The roofs and castle church were destroyed in Soviet bombings on June 26, 1941, Turku Castle
The roofs and castle church were destroyed in Soviet bombings on June 26, 1941, Turku Castle (© SA-Kuva)

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