Competition for development of the detailed plan, 2019


Turku, Finland


Design phase


2019 -


Refurbishment of the existing buildings to sheltered housing, day care, and services, and new housing buildings

Housing | Public

Sepänkatu 1 Residential Block

JKMM Architects have won a two stage competition for the development of a historic city block that was once home to Turku Technical College. The joint proposal with Jatke Länsi-Suomi Ltd and Taaleri Pääomarahastot Ltd for this piece of Turku’s history will enable the creation of a dynamic quarter for new housing models that is within easy reach of services yet enjoying a leafy, verdant setting.

The city block is part of a unique and highly regarded site in the vicinity of Turku’s town centre and next to Samppalinna Park as well as a recreational area.  The original 1960s school buildings by Olof Holmberg as well as the later 1990s extensions to these by Pekka Pitkänen will be retained as part of the streetscape. The new housing will be located next to Samppalinna Park ja Neitsytpolku thereby paying homage to the courtyard of the old vocational school as well as its massing.

The new interventions thus form a carefully stepped and sculpturesque boundary to the Park and recreation area. Their architecture is a combination of a distinctly contemporary language with timeless qualities, particularly in the selection of materials that age well. The elevations of the buildings are laid in a light coloured brick. The overlays in the brick facades emphasise the materiality of the walls and bring the surfaces to life.  Timber details accentuate this effect. The restrained quality of the facades and the carefully selected materials that feel natural with their earthy tones root the buildings into their parkland milieu.

The setting of the buildings has been taken into consideration on many levels in the designs as have the requirements of the residents. The objective has been to design a housing scheme that feels generous and is of a high standard in the way it has been thought out and realised. Light plays an important role in this as do flexibility of use and potential for change in the layout of the homes. This ensures that any bespoke solutions for residents can be carried out without significant structural changes in the build.

The newly conceived block will offer different types of accommodation including care homes and retirement properties within reach of a good provision of services.  Facilities like the daycare centre, general store, and coffee shop in addition to wellness services make this an attractive place for long term residency. They are also important in establishing a sense of community.

Landscape architects Loci have designed a planted, light-filled courtyard that can be used by residents, for example, as an allotment or for gardening and thus reinforcing a sense of communal wellbeing.