Verkatehdas Arts and Congress Centre
- JKMM Architects
- Pikkujärventie, 13200 Hämeenlinna, Finland
- 1M - 100M
- 1-5 Piani
Verkatehdas consists of a 30 000 sqm2 early 20th century fabric factory complex, which is now redeveloped into a cultural institution in Hämeenlinna locating in southern Finland. New annexes are called Verkatehdas Arts & Congress Centre, adding up to a one-third of the whole. The complexity of the final compositions intriguing structure could be compared with a medieval city. Project places a new concert hall within the existing factory courtyard. New annex with movie theatres will be efficiently visible in the townscape. A large glazed inner courtyard forms the primary space and functional heart of the cultural factory. This fan-shaped courtyard opens up towards Vanajavesi water front park through foyer spaces.
The high gables of the old factory and new concert hall are dominating features in townscape. New structures respect old ones tuning the composition over again. The aim was to form a composition where the old mill complex and new buildings form a harmonious entity, so that both together define the spirit of the place. Main materials are red brick, corten-steel, glass and concrete, and their handling is artless and plain. The new formal features and materials are kept in a simple and serene relationship with the old, thus emphasising the value of the existing structures like coarse surfaced concrete beams and brick masonry. Rough articulation of the whole enables to use strong colours and rustic surfaces like rubber, ceramics and rusted steel.
The concert hall is technologically sophisticated and transformable to allow multi-use of various performance types. The uses of concert hall vary from congresses to theatre performances, from classical music concerts with 700 seats, to rock concerts enabling 1100 spectators. The cinema annex includes four movie theatres seating 650 all together. Movie theatres are equipped with modern digital techniques. In the future also large parts of the old factory will be renovated to house new functions, mainly educational and atelier spaces.