KalasatamaElectricity Substation serves the rapidly developing Kalasatama area situated close to downtown Helsinki. It consists of twobuildings housing transformers and a switchgear building, all in concrete and clad over by analuminium graffiti fence and an architectural stainless steel mesh.
The location is a central, urban site between the former Suvilahti power station that has been transformed into a cultural centre, and the still-functional Hanasaari power station. The site is located by one of the main traffic arteries leading to the city centre. The area is under a major transformation and the current, partially unfinished conditions of the immediate surroundings will soon change.
The building programme has been laid out so that the whole relates to the scale and positioning of the existing, protected buildings in the immediate vicinity of the project. The materials and structures are also a reference to the oldconcrete and steel structures around our site.
Street art is a major, popular phenomenon at the site and the city of Helsinki has provided places and structures for graffiti artists to work on in the area since 2009. Continuation and enhancement of this scene was a request from the city as we began to design the building. It was also an opportunity for the building to provide a public function, which is not typical of an electricity substation. Because of this a graffiti fence was incorporated into the project.
Due to our client’s security concerns, the concrete boxes are set back from the site limits. However, we did not want to create an ordinary industrial project in which the buildings are tucked behind a perimeter fence, because the site is in such a central location. Instead, a 1400 mm deep metal double facade was designed to meet the client’s requirements and to bring the building facades to the site limits in an urban fashion.
The graffiti fence is about three metres high and consists of interlocking aluminium hollow-core profiles that were designed by us and custom-built for the project. The interlocking ensures rigidity and itblocks the paint fumes from entering inside the fence which was a client request. The aluminium parts were anodised to provide a durable base finish.
The graffiti fence has turned out to be popular with street artists. New pieces are createdover existing ones constantly and the art is communicated to a wider audience through social media channels. Through this non-stop artistic activity the building looks different every day.
1. Rudus Oy – Concrete
2. CodinaArchitectural, S.L. - Eiffel 40100 Architectural Mesh
3. Purso Ltd. – Custom-made aluminium profile softhegraffitifence