Chappe Art House
How art rebuilds a village
Chappe is a new three-storey art house by the sea located on the southern coast of Finland in the historic town of Tammisaari founded in 1546 and known for its timber architecture dating back to the 18th Century. A popular summer destination, Tammisaari punches above its weight in terms of its cultural offer with museums, galleries and a cinema dating from 1912.
Located in the museum quarter in the heart of Tammisaari’s old town, Chappe is a 1,210 sqm addition to this mix of cultural attractions. In fact, an essential element of JKMM’s brief in designing the art house was to connect it to the existing art complex set in and around the regional Raseborg Museum. Physically, this is achieved through an underground link from the basement level of Chappe and through a shared museum garden.
The black spruce clad elevations of the new art house play on traditional Finnish timber architecture. The detailing of the elevations emphasise the importance of craft and how this works its way into a wholly contemporary architectural idiom. Inside the building, JKMM’s lofty spaces recall the notion of the hall as a building typology. This has been an important aspect for Chappe as the building will also host events and community uses in addition to housing museum grade galleries.
JKMM have expressed the timber structure of the building on its upper levels as a way of introducing tactility and warmth into the galleries. The main exhibition galleries are located on the top of the building on level two. On level one – in Finland, the ground floor – the key spaces are the main entrance and a generous multi-purpose foyer connected to a picturesque museum garden shared with its neighbouring institutions.
JKMM has worked closely with artists on pieces that work as part of Chappe’s architecture. For example, in the foyer there is a large ceramic work by Karin Widnäs as well as a light installation by Petri Vainio. JKMM also collaborated with a local carpenter to create furniture including benches for Chappe and worked with a local contractor.
This notion of locality is an essential part of Chappe’s architecture with the sculptural form of the building woven into its neighbourhood creating a distinctly contextual landmark. The carefully considered views from within the building also tie it to its setting with their framed vistas of the sea and the old town.