Rovaniemi Sports Arena Railo
The building is based on the winning entry to a 1996 architecture competition entitled ’Vesipiha’ (’Water Garden’). The idea behind the winning design was to create a multi-faceted and formally rich cultural facility that would embrace an attractive garden with a water motif and plantations.
The follow-up designs still streamlined the appearance of the building further, and the components were simplified. The original basic idea has, however, remained unchanged in the final result.
The building is a collage of masses: a small village where the different functions each have their own ’house’ – a typical solution for public buildings at the time. The auditorium, library rooms, newspaper room and music department all have clearly designed units linked by an airy lobby serving as a mall.
The entrance at the northern end of the lobby is approached from the small square at the junction of Nesteentie and Eeronkuja streets. From the parking lot on the southside, the lobby is entered through the garden. The cube-shaped vestibules, clad with patinated galvanised sheet metal cassettes, are in strong axial relation with one another anchoring onto the ’glass grid’ formed by the glazed walls of the lobby, emphasising the sense of flow through this space. A third, somewhat more modest entrance is situated in the wedge-shaped eastern corner, leading visitors in from the direction of the school complex.
The lobby serves both as a passage leading to the various departments and as a meeting and exhibition space. The library rooms are located in the blue unit on the northern side. The entire northern façade is made of slanting glazed wall, supported by pylons clad with galvanised sheet metal. On the ground floor, there are the adults’, young people’s and children’s collection and the circulation and formation desks. The first-floor gallery contains the reference library, reading rooms, and media library as well as a conference room.
To counterbalance the blue northern building mass, the newspaper room and music/art department is a light, board-clad pavilion-like unit protruding through the southern glazed wall into the lobby. The auditorium is situated in the red building unit in the Nesteentie street side. The office facilities and the staff quarters are situated mainly in the two-storey eastern unit on Eeronkuja street.
The colours and materials of the library and auditorium building have been selected in order to blend it with its surroundings naturally, to give the spaces, and the way they are experienced by the viewer, symbolical meanings, and to improve the perceptibility of the different units.
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 5/1999