- 2.6 km
The planning of the Mukkula Church and Parish Centre in Lahti began in 1986 when the Evangelical-Lutheran Congregation of Keski-Lahti commissioned the architects Reima and Raili Pietilä to draw up a plan for the church and the related use of the permitted building volume. The architect’s work resulted in a proposed amendment of the town plan, in which the buildings were to be placed at a prominent intersection in the townscape, with the church itself standing at the end of Mukkulankatu, the long principal street of the area. The building was thus incorporated as an active part of the services of the community.
Reima Pietilä’s health did not permit the Pietiläs to take part in the actual design, because the Mäntyniemi project demanded all his energy. The congregation awarded the design of the church and parish centre to Lahti based Boman Lindström Vesanen Architects, and the actual design work started in 1989.
The location of the building at a busy intersection produced a solution in which the interiors are protected by a solid, slanted wall and by a belfry following the curving line of the street. Through the vestibules, the building opens onto a wide, open park on its west side. A long passageway wind through the length of the building, connecting the vestibules and the chapel-like meeting rooms.
The heavy wall enclosing the church and the meeting hall not only offers protection but is also an allusion to the robust walls and aisles of old churches. The altar wall has a powerful symbolic impact. It consists of a single monolith mass which contains the sacristy. A sliver of concrete split form the larger mass symbolizes the Resurrection; the stone rolled back from the grave of Christ, permitting light to enter through narrow glazed cracks. The resurrection motif of the altar is enhanced by the altarpiece “Let There Be Light”, designed by the textile artist Kirsti Rantanen. A movable partition joins the church interior to the parish meeting hall which is normally furnished with chairs and tables. The hall is illuminated diagonally from above by a lantern-like skylight. There is a small adjoining kitchen. When furnished with chairs only, the church and the hall together seat 365 people. The belfry, with three bells, is on the side of the complex facing the city. The lower part of the belfry contains a storage room for maintenance equipment.
The church and parish centre building has six rooms and a fall-out shelter/band rehearsal room. The room nearest to the main entrance is reserved for use by grown-ups. The northern end has three rooms for daycare services and Sunday school. The children’s entrance hall is separated from the rest of the vestibule by a glass door. The basement has a multipurpose room for teenagers and a room for the local scout association, as well as a fall-out shelter used by bands as a rehearsal space. The basement also has a kitchenette.
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 1/1995