Merikoski Hydropower Plant
Tempo residential, office and commercial building was built in the very centre of Tampere, at the foot of the Hämeensilta bridge. The four-metre-high, open-plan street floor comprises shops and restaurants, the first floor was intended for offices and the four upper floors for apartments. Tempo House is a modernist landmark and at the same time also one of the first examples of so-called white Functionalism in Tampere. The building’s reinforced concrete structures proved a demanding design task. Their size was determined by the requirements of the open-plan retail space and the residential floors. The construction, retail spaces and facades are all modern. The apartments, on the other hand, are spatially more conventional, though they were equipped with the most up-to-date kitchen appliances of the time. Tempo was the first department store in Tampere.
Tempo House has retained its significance in the cityscape. Most of the surrounding buildings are older than it. Nearby, on the Tammerkoski rapids, are two modern power plants from the 1930s, also designed by Strömmer in the 1930s. These three buildings give an indication of how between the wars a nineteenth-century industrial city was transformed into a modern city.
The original Tempo department store closed down in 1970, and since then a variety of commercial services have operated in the premises. A large part of the apartments have been converted, from the 1970s onwards, into commercial premises. The building’s appearance has changed somewhat due to the repairs carried out in recent decades. The original light-coloured plaster is now clearly darker in colour, the curved glass in the corner windows has been replaced with heavier windows with straight glass panes, and some of the doors have also been replaced with new standard doors. In spite of these unfortunate changes, the building has retained its architectural authenticity quite well and is still a major monument of modernism in Tampere.
Tempo House is listed on the DOCOMOMO Finland registered selection of important architectural and environmental Modernist sites.
Text: Olli-Paavo Koponen / DOCOMOMO Finland