Mestari Daycare Centre
The main centre of Utsjoki municipality is low-built and scattered. The new local government offices stand at the junction of the broad Tenojoki river valley, lined with fells, and the little river Utsjoki, with its steep banks. There is an unhindered view from the site across the river and over to Norway. The vegetation is sparse, delicate lichen, and the only trees are shrub-like dwarf birch.
The principles for the design of government offices were not taken from the local Sámi culture, because the architects Juha Pasanen and Lasse Vahtera thought it would be superficial to try to interpret a nomad culture from the southern perspective and use it in the design of a government building. Instead, in planning Utsjoki government offices, the architects sought firstly to give expression to nature – not just the fell landscape, but also the seasons, in all their colours – secondly to this unique geographical location in the north, and thirdly the scenery, where two river valleys merge. The executed plan was a simplified version of the Postmodernist ‘Oulu School’ regionalism that was popular in northern Finland in the 1980s.
The outer shell of the building is a shielding wall, built of stone and rendered white, white the courtyard side is greyish wood. White gateway constructions highlight the channels of movement and entrances, and the dominant council chamber is dark, with a white ceiling.
Architects Juha Pasanen and Lasse Vahtera were assisted by Jukka Laaksonen, Jukka Laurila, Virpi Lehtinen, Kyösti Meinilä and Risto Räty.
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 1/1988