Kouvola Town Hall
Extracts of Tuomas Toivonen’s critique published in the Finnish Architectural Review 4/2010:
Juha Leiviskä’s buildings embody a strange alchemy of quotidian realism and modern tradition. The standard building materials become ingredients in a secret formula where the luminous spaces generated by a Neo-Plasticist “game of parallel plates” ennoble the surfaces that define them and the activities that take place within them.
Well grounded at its corners by the street perimeter, the building masses are stepped to form a valley between and enclose a courtyard. This increases the intensity of the site as well as its density, creating a new transverse axis and a shortcut to the main campus by way of placing the main entrance to the building on Yrjö-Koskisen katu street.
The building has a strong identity of its own, appearing as a microcosm where civilised peace and harmony prevail. The diagonal paths and the textured zigzagging planes that define them create fragmented, geometrically rich spaces, whose white surfaces allow the gaze to meander, fixing on people and varied vistas.
On the courtyard side, the building turns as if to look at itself, across the courtyard, over terraces and roofs. Here and there vistas continue through other spaces, mixing glimpses of the lobby with the campus and its streets, classrooms and corridors, near and far. The surprising visual connections and sightlines between various parts of the building make moving within it perceptually and socially exciting.