The Kuntola building is part of the Validia Educational Centre of Invalidiliitto (Union for Disabled People in Finland) in the town of Järvenpää.
User representatives of the students and teachers participated in the design phase to ensure accessibility, a pleasant working environment, and ease of use, also aesthetically, for disabled people.
The building offers a variety of teaching spaces and a sports hall. The blue and green façade is reminiscent of the site’s former swimming pool and gym which had to be demolished due to severe moisture damage. The small plot and generous program led to an efficient and compact design. The only exception to the rectangular plan is an inset for the main entrance.
The façade is clad in vertical ceramic boards in a lively variety of colours which counterbalance the unassuming form and camouflage the scale. Additionally, these façade elements continue inside into the main hall, where they are also perforated to absorb noise.
In contrast to the blue and green façades, the main door and the lift shafts are red. Red is also used on the walls of the sports hall, which are clad with veneered acoustic panels stained in a warm tone. Strong colours are also applied to furniture and laminated doors throughout the building. Furthermore, a series of timber surfaces along the corridors and the ribbon windows in the classrooms brings warmth to the spaces.
Kuntola received first prize for the Colour 11-competition in 2011 (Väri 11-kilpailu).
Location: Järvenpää, Finland
Photo credits: Jussi Tiainen, 2
Team: Kirsti Sivén, Markku Hietamaa, Alex Torres, Kristiina Timonen, Eeva Saarelainen, Tuula Nurmi, Annika Väisänen, Taito Heino, Ilpo Muraja, Milja Nykänen, Gerrie Bekhuis