Ilmajoki Home for Elderly and Day Centre
In 1988, three architects’ offices were invited to participate in an invited competition for the Vellamonkodit block in Tampere. The 8 Studio Architects, based in Tampere, won the competition. The development of a daycare centre and aparments for the aged was completed 1990. The annexe of the apartment building was completed in 2005.
The block is located in the southeast corner of Tammelantori square, on a site that is crucial to the surrounding urban space. It is located at the meeting-point between two types of block – a traditional perimeter block joins an open block structure built in the 1960s and 1970s, in which each building is located in the middle of its own plot.In principle, the block was to be designed like a perimeter block, but its southern side in particular was to be much more open than the traditional perimeter block. The aim was that the design should facilitate positive interaction between the apartments for the aged and the daycare centre; forced contacts, however, were to be avoided. This prompted a solution with two separate building masses in the same yard – a lower building for the daycare centre, and a taller building for the apartments for the aged. Various joint facilities and more intimate entrances to the buildings are grouped around the common yard. The main entrances are on the street.
The outside of the block was to have clearly defined, wall-like surfaces, whereas the sides facing the yard were to be lighter and more varied.Fairfaced concrete blocks coloured red and grey were chosen as the main material of the street-side elevations. The colours used were red and light grey. The yard elevations of the daycare centre are of wood.The apartments for the aged allow occupants to lead independent lives as long as possible and avoid institutionalization by offering access to high-quality services. The idea was to create a milieu that was as ‘normal’ as possible and which the occupants could truly feel was their home, regardless of their state of health.
The basic design chosen was a unit of 4–6 apartments, with a small common area and a cleaning room to be used by the home helps. The apartment next to the common area can be converted into an extension of that area, which means that all the apartment groups can be turned into sheltered housing units if necessary.
The building has two different functional wings. The entrance hall joins the multipurpose room, the basic materials room, the workshop and kitchenette, which together form a single functional entity. Simple in its basic form, the plan is designed to facilitate easy orientation. The corridor opens out into the yard in several places. The material chosen help to erase the distinction between inside and outside space. Authentic materials are used; their significance is increased by the fact that they afford authentic sensations with a specific pedagogical content.The daycare centre has three sections. One wing houses the sections for 1–3 and 3–6 year olds, and the other a section for school children and a shift-care department, where some of the children stay overnight.
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 4–5/1991