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Kakolanmäki Area

Client: Senate Properties, City of Turku
Location: Kakolanmäki, Turku, Finland
Year of completion: 2007-
Gross Area: 40 300 m² (old buildings) + 72 930 m² (new buildings)
Site Area: 200 000 m²

Turku, the former capital of Finland, is the oldest city in the country. It was founded in the end of 13th century, when Finland was under Swedish rule. Nowadays there are about 174 000 inhabitants in Turku.

Until now the Kakolanmäki hill has been a closed prison area beside the heart of Turku City. It is dominated by rocky hillsides, park like woods and old stone buildings. In the end of year 2007 the prison activities were transferred to a new location. The area of 20 hectares with historical buildings will be open to citizens and to different kinds of user groups. Kakolanmäki will then be an urban environment and an active part of the city structure. There are ca 40 000 sq m of existing buildings to conserve, and approximately 60 000 sq m of new buildings. An architectural competition on Kakolanmäki was held in 2005 and the general plan is based on the awarded project.

Kakolanmäki is one of the seven eminences of Turku. The hilltop reaches up to 40m above the environment providing beautiful scenery to all directions. The prison walls of Kakola have been dominating the city silhouette for a long time. They can still be seen from near and far, even from the sea. As a conclusion, the Kakolanmäki hill is part of the national scenery of Aurajoki river -region.

Most of the historical buildings are built during 1845-1908, when Finland was under Russian rule, and therefore are considered to be an important part of both cultural and constructional history.

The uniform eaves line of the new buildings is planned to be remarkably lower than the ones of the old buildings, bringing the historically important buildings to the focus. The materials, as well as the form and the structure of the new buildings are similar to the surrounding environment and the existing buildings. The arched building masses repeat the topography of the rocky hillside. The grey plastered new buildings of the western end unite to the old granite walls, whereas the buildings in the east part repeat the old brick architecture.

The City of Turku and the state of Finland participate in the design process. New kinds of public activities are ensued for both communities and companies. Also some new housing is being designed for carefully selected spots. The neighbours living nearby have been conferred with during the whole design process. The process name - “Citizens’ Kakola” - clearly embodies the local character and the inspiration, and it will be instilled in the community.

The historical buildings of Kakola, the almost untouched rocks and park like valuable woods will be united with the green belts and outdoor routes, which start from the city centre. The ferry transportation “Föri” across the Aurajoki River is a part of outdoor routes as well. In the future, the Kakolanmäki hilltop will also be reached by a cable car. The lookout spot of the hill will be available for the handicapped.

Cars will not overwhelm Kakolanmäki in the future. Traffic will be directed only to certain arrival points and parking will be located underground, below the newer building segment.