Aurelia, Turku

The modern office and activities building Aurelia, commissioned by the Turku and Kaarina Parish Union for its Swedish parish, is located in a neighbourhood of houses built at the beginning of the 20th century in central Turku, near the nationally significant Puolalanmäki and Turku Art Museum and a stone's throw away from the Market Square.

Customer: Turku and Kaarina Parish Union

Location: Aurakatu 18, Turku

Year completed: 2005

Scale: 5387 m2

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The new building continues the varied lines of existing buildings: at the merging point and ground level the façade of a block of flats on the upper slope, and at the upper section the exterior wall-line of the Vimma youth centre located on the lower slope. In front of the entrances there is a partially public arcade with a covered entrance defined by pillars and vats of plants.

The building’s multifaceted use is reflected in its exterior architecture. The material selections for the lower floors, simplified design language and openings that differ from the rest of the building convey the sacral nature of the inside spaces. A large altar stone in a planted area in front of the pediment emphasises the hall’s status and quiets outside views from the hall. Traditional façade materials, three-layer limewash plastering on brick, patinated copper and natural stone, link the building to the historic environment, even though the form language and architecture convey their own time.

The parish’s areas are located on the three lowest floors. Congregation areas, the lobby and a parish hall that can be divided into two spaces are on the ground floor. The lobby is also directly connected to the inner yard, where an outdoor café can easily be organised, as it is close to the kitchen. The parish’s group work spaces as well as child and youth areas with kitchens are located on the second floor. Office and meeting areas as well as a workspace for musicians are located on the third floor. The higher floors are let out for outside office use.

The sheltered inner yard is reserved entirely for spending time outdoors, games and play. The steep inclination of the yard has been utilised by building an amphitheatre on the slope suited for a variety of uses. The feel of the constructed yard is softened by ground-cover plants and apple trees.

Beneath the property there is a three-storey car park, which also has warehouse space and a band space shared with the next-door youth centre.

Aurelia’s indoor areas won first prize in the Finnish Trade Fair Foundation Colour07 competition.

www.turunseurakunnat.fi

publications: Teräsrakenne 4/2006, Office Buildings in Finland