Ämmä Hydropower Plant
An open architectural competition held in 1948 for the design of Lohja parish hall was won by Aarne Ervi. The building, which stands next to the 16th-century Lohja old church, is an interesting example of the romantic movement which predominated in Finland after the Second World War. Ervi designed the parish hall to be a low building in order to avoid competition with the church. The ground-plan of the building is U-shaped.
A chapel is located in the wing closer to the church, and this is linked with the parish hall, which is in the central part. The other wing contains offices and a small meeting room for the parish council. Ervi designed some two-storey staff accommodation buildings for the slope which leads away from the church.
At the request of the building committee, products of the Lohja chalk factory and companies owned by it were used as building materials. The outer walls of the parish hall are, indeed, of hardened lightweight concrete and lime-sand brick, and the roof is of white concrete. The façades of the building that give on to the square are clad in slate. In this way, Ervi aimed to link the parish hall more closely with the stone church. The stone cladding, however, lacks the three-dimensionality of stone, and the result is transparent rather than massive. The diagonal transformation of the stone cladding into pale tiles softens the contrast between the materials and emphasises the hierarchy between the different parts of the building. The employment of such architectural references was typical of Ervi: he was able to use the latest building materials effortlessly alongside historical forms.
Text: Juhana Lahti / 20th Century Architecture, MFA