St. Matthew’s Church
The multipurpose centre should act as an activities centre for the whole east Helsinki area, where some 120000 people live. The building is in the core of a local centre currently under construction in which the centre block are linked by a north-south pedestrian axis.
The multipurpose centre and parish centre together form a homogenous complex which faces away from the adjacent shopping centre and noisy traffic artery. The flow of people from the first floor of the shopping centre descends to ‘Stoa square’ flanked by the multipurpose centre and parish centre and acts as a kind of ‘backwater’. All the entrances and main public interiors are grouped on this square.
The basic structural principle behind the building’s design was the desire to combine several public services under one roof, with each independent unit benefiting from the rest, and with joint facilities which could also be used services and activities.
The joint facilities in the multipurpose centre are the main hall, a small hall for 400 and a smaller one 200. The centre also has facilities for the workers’ institute, a branch library and youth activities.
The main hall is the focal point of all activities, with the library and other halls leading straight into it, and the youth and adult education facilities close by. The main hall comprises and entrance lobby, café and exhibition area, mostly on the ground floor. The first floor comprises a gallery with leisure areas along it.It is hoped that the lobby will come to be an attractive meeting place accessible from the various parts of the multipurpose centre. The large and small halls are meant for visiting theatre, music and dance groups. Both can also be used for showing films, and radio and TV programmes can also be broadcast from the large hall. Both its stage and the auditorium construction can be altered. The lower stage and auxiliary facilities make it easier to coordinate functions.
There are two prizewinning works of art, one in the square and the other in the main hall: Hannu Siren’s sculpture Stoa and Jukka Mäki’s painting Ode to Life.
The Itäkeskus multipurpose centre was based on the entry awarded 1st prize in an open competition.
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 6/1985