Hämeenlinna Provincial Archive
by Heikkinen-Komonen Architects
Hämeenlinna is a small but remarkable Finnish city located app. 100 km (60 miles) north from Helsinki. It has a long history; provincial archive’s documents date from the 16th century.
The provincial archive is a storage for historical documents but it is also an important public institution, which contains our collective memory. The building deserves a significant role in the cityscape. It should not look like an anonymous storage or office building. In this project we wanted to make the archive itself the architectonic primary motive.
There are three functional units in the building. Treasury which contains the historical documents from five centuries, offices and workshops for the staff and an area which is accessible for visitors.
The open area on the ground floor is organized as an archipelago of different spaces like study rooms, auditorium, library, cafeteria and exhibition space. Above this transparent and colorful ground floor is three floor high solid archive box, which is covered with graphic concrete elements both on the exterior and interior side. Offices and workshops in the yard side are covered with brown aluminum plates and they are separated from other parts of the building by a skylight canyon.
Graphic concrete was chosen for the facade’s main material as we wanted to tell a story of the contents of the building. Artist Aimo Katajamäki designed the facade composition, which is clearly viewed both in the cityscape and indoors. The narrative decoration has been taken from the historical documents, stamps and writings found from the archive.
Markku Puumala (project architect)