Harjunkulma Housing Block, Jyväskylä

The town plan for the Harjunkulma housing block was originally based on a design by Peter Zumthor. The idea was to create a commanding glass building encircling an expansive courtyard.

In 2004 the invitations to design the block were sent out although the town plan had not yet been ratified. The feasibility testing and detailed outlining of the plan were carried out concurrently with the schematic design of the buildings. The first building was not completed until 2007, and altogether it took about ten years from the first sketches to completion.

The challenge of the task was to make the image of a glass edifice meet the functions of living in a city centre, the demands of ecological responsibility, and the local cost level. Balconies with tall sliding glass panels cover three sides of the block and provide a buffering zone towards the streets. The walls behind the glass curtain are timber construction. The fourth side is facing the north-east to a street with busy traffic, and the idea of the glass façade had to be applied by different means. The courtyard side has a completely different rhythm and appearance created by protruding free-shaped pavilions added to the main body. The concepts and materials of the facades are also different inside the block. The main parts of the courtyard facades have strip-like patterns resembling birch bark, while the pavilions are clad with sheet metal.

The dwellings are of reasonable sizes, with many facing both towards the street and the courtyard. Ample daylight spreads through the main spaces, which stretch out across the whole plan. The living spaces are also extended outdoors with large glazed balconies. The homes are not luxurious but are designed for quality everyday life.

This new urban block brings life to the centre of Jyväskylä – a university town – and in the evenings shines like a large lantern.

Harjukulma has been published on Archdaily and Architizer. The project was also on display at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale in the exhibition at the Nordic Pavilion.

Year: 2014
Location: Jyväskylä, Finland
Image credits: Tuomas Uusheimo 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, Sampo Sikiö 2
Team: Kirsti Sivén, Asko Takala, Riku Rönkä, Kaisa Savolainen, Alex Torres, Taru Niskanen, Ilpo Muraja, Emma Kämäräinen, Tuula Nurmi, Tapani Lehitinen, Tatu Pärssinen, Maija Korkeela, Emma Kämäräinen, Maija Korkeela, Ralf Åkerblom, Heidi Turunen, Milja Nykänen, Henna Manninen, Gerrie Bekhuis


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