Stoa Cultural Centre
The parish centre called St. Matthew’s is in Helsinki’s eastern neighbourhood centre Itäkeskus, on the corner of Turunlinnantie and Olavinlinnantie.The new parish centre and the existing multipurpose cultural centre Stoa are the main buildings on the northern square in Itäkeskus, the overall design of which is based on the prizewinning entry in an open competition.
Despite its small size St. Matthew’s is the main church for the eastern parishes of Helsinki. One of the main design problems was to find cohesive architectural motifs which would make the building a distinct entity while also symbolizing the community of the various facilities and functions. The main motifs chosen were a forecourt shared by all the entrances, wood-built lobbies and a glass-covered inside ‘precinct’, and views of the ground floor ‘precinct’, and views of the ground floor precinct and the church tower from the first-floor lobbies and St. Matthew’s hall.
The entrance lobbies aim at creating a sense of warm intimacy. The homely character of the offices, workrooms and clubrooms is underlined through the choice of materials: the floors are wooden, with unfitted carpets, the desks have table-lamps and the seating groups intimate standard lamps, and so on. The rather massive building is counterbalanced by the light interiors.
The church proper, dimensioned for 200, is an ‘introverted’ space, a place for contemplation and tranquillity, set against the busy surroundings. The parish hall, on the other hand, has a light and airy look which nonetheless harmonizes well with the more serious mood of the church.
The main entrances to the church building and the light wood-built pavilion lobbies open onto the square, linking parish functions with the overall life of the cultural centre.
The ceramic works of art in the building are by Anna-Maria Osipow and the church textiles by Immi Halsti.
St. Matthew’s Church was designed by architects Björn Krogius (principal designer), Stefan Ahlman, Riitta Hyppönen, Heikki-Veli Murto, Mirja Liisa Hämäläinen, Juhani Väisänen, Toini Pursula, Eero Piuva, Rolf Krogius and Veikko Siirilä.
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 6/1985