The commercial and apartment buildings on the northern side of Kauppakatu street, Kajaani form one of Finland’s most coherent functionalist street views. It was created by architect Eino Pitkänen (1904–1955), who was a key figure in the reconstruction of the city centre, after it had been almost completely destroyed in the Second World War.

The functionalist building block by Pitkänen begins with Kauppakatu 17 commercial building from 1951 and Kauppakatu 15 mixed use building from 1952. House Ipat, built in 1941, takes advantage of the foundations of a destroyed house that had stood in the place. Next to it is Restaurant Seurahuone from 1945 and Säästöpankki Bank, built in 1950. The oldest building in the block, SOK Maakunta commercial building from 1939, was designed by architect Valde Aulanko (1883–1955).

The façades of the housing block reveal how Pitkänen’s architectural expression shifted over time. The simplistic architecture of House Ipat reflects the wartime austerity and poverty, while the buildings next to it already show signs of postwar Modernism. However, the vertical lines of the latest building, Säästöpankki Bank, refer to the revival of the architectural ideals of the 1920s.

In west, the functionalist building block ends at the early 18th century square, on the opposite side of which lies the 1831 Town Hall. Together with the wooden Empire style town hall, the Pitkänen-designed buildings along the square, the police station building (1935) and the Kainuun Sanomat printing house (1938) and office building (1940) create an interesting encounter in the cityscape. In west, the end of Kauppakatu street is crowned by a four-storey office building of the former bank Kainuun Osuuskassa (1948), also designed by Pitkänen.

Text: Päivi Tervonen

Location

Kauppakatu 9–17, Kajaani
64.2262509, 27.7314041

Images

Kauppakatu Functionalist Building Block
Kauppakatu Functionalist Building Block (© Pekka Agarth)
From left to right: Kauppakatu 17 commercial building, Kauppakatu 15 commercial and apartment building, House Ipat, Restaurant Seurahuone and Säästöpankki Bank, Kauppakatu Functionalist Building Block
From left to right: Kauppakatu 17 commercial building, Kauppakatu 15 commercial and apartment building, House Ipat, Restaurant Seurahuone and Säästöpankki Bank, Kauppakatu Functionalist Building Block (© Kainuu Museum / T. Rissanen)
Kauppakatu 15 commercial and apartment building, early 1950s, Kauppakatu Functionalist Building Block
Kauppakatu 15 commercial and apartment building, early 1950s, Kauppakatu Functionalist Building Block (© Kainuu Museum’s photo archive / Post card from 1950s / Forte)

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