Kerava City Library
The first steam-powered grain mill in Finland operated in the Rantamylly facility in Vaasa. The industrial buildings were built in several stages between the 1860s–1970s. Architect C.A. Setterbergäs combined mill manager’s residence and office building, dating back to 1861, is among the oldest structures of the site. In terms of the urban landscape, the most significant features of the mill complex are the work of architect W.G. Palmqvist and date from the 1930s.
The open competition for the redevelopment for the Åbo Akademi University’s Unit of Ostrobothnia in the site was arranged in 1998–1999. The competition entry by QUAD Architects was chosen for realisation.
The point of departure of the townscape concept was the restoration of the original urban plan and the improvements in the area’s structural clarity. The university facilities were situated in the old Rantamylly building, and the residential plots were organised on the opposite side, along the newly opened fire alley.
The red brick of the mill walls ties the buildings that date from different periods into a clearly identifiable entity. Teaching and work facilities house the old parts of the building, while the auditorium and the TV studio are placed in the extension. The primary spaces are organised along a central sequence of hall spaces.
Concrete is the principal material of the new structures and the glass walls and roofs have steel frames. Some of the old frame structures were preserved.
Text: Finnish Architectural Review 5/2004