Right next to the centre of Turku, a completely new residential district is under construction in Kakolanmäki. New apartment buildings will also be built there, but what makes the district unique is the redevelopment of old prison facilities into residential and commercial premises. The prison areas have been restored to the use of local residents only a few years ago.
The developer of the project is Kakola Yhtiöt Oy. According to Olli Ojala, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Property Counsellor, half of the area is designed for residential buildings, half will be left as parks and streets.
'Kakolanmäki is not only intended for future residents, but for all townspeople as a recreational area. There will be high-quality services in the area, and there will also be a funicular, or lift, that rises from the river bank to the hilltop,' Ojala says.
In addition to about 1,500 homes, Kakolanmäki will have a spa, restaurant, small brewery, photo studio, organic bakery, and electric cars and bicycles for shared use by residents. Previous plans to develop the prison area have not materialised. However, development work got under way when Kakola Yhtiöt acquired the central prison and its surrounding areas in 2015, and a year later, the district prison building and surrounding land. The company will carry out all renovation projects in the area. According to Ojala, Finland needs more expertise and courage to make commercially sensible changes to the use of old buildings.
Renovation with respect for protected site
Construction works of the area are expected to be completed in the early 2020s. The apartments will be built in four phases. First, the old prison area in Kakola will be renovated.
'70 apartments are being completed in the Länsiselli building of the former premises of Kakola Prison, as well as a parking garage with 200 spaces. The first residents moved into their new homes in December 2017,' says Ojala.
Significantly better and more expensive materials than regulated and in conventional housing construction have been used in the building of the apartments. According to Ojala, the restoration of such a protected site with cultural-historical value must be done with respect for the original building so that the building will remain usable for generations to come. He hopes that people also understand quality to mean more expensive prices.
'For example, we have automatic sprinkler and fire extinguisher systems, Miele home appliance systems and Puustelli kitchens as standard equipment in the apartments. In addition to district heating, there is district cooling,' he says.
To improve sound insulation, all floors and partition walls have been built with better insulation than regulated. Drainage was made of plastic decibel drains with the same sound insulation as cast iron drainage pipes, but at a significantly lower total
The best possible paints and coatings
According to Jarmo Aalto, CEO of Maalausurakointi Aalto Oy, the site was not a typical housing production project in the sense that the selection of coatings and paints focused especially on the high quality of products.
'For example, all walls and ceilings have been treated with Tikkurila's ready-to-use Prestonit 5 +5 Spray Plaster. Ready-to-use fillers are seldom used in housing production, but
in this project, the client wanted only the best,' Aalto says.
Full-matt Harmony interior paint tinted to the white Tikkurilan Valkoinen was used on the interior walls of the apartments.
The ceilings were spray plastered using Prestonit ready-to-use fillers. The stairways were painted with semi-matt Siro 20 renovation paint in Tikkurilan Valkoinen and Angora colours. The interior walls against the granite exterior wall were plastered again and then treated with Finngard Silicate Paint.
'The client wanted to ensure that the building remains healthy in the future. That's why we chose a product that breaths and keeps the structures healthy,' says Aalto.
The apartments are as good as new
Inside, the apartments are as good as new, as everything, including building services, has been renovated. According to painting contractor Aalto, the construction site was, from their point of view, just as a new site, as
there were no actual restoration points. However, the aim was to preserve the old spirit in the buildings and yards, and some details of the building have been preserved. For example, the stairwells and saunas in a few apartments have the old windows with bars. Other windows have been enlarged, and balconies were added to some apartments by cutting doorways through the granite. They, as well as the bars and downpipes, were protected with Panssarimaali.
'The exterior door and window frames were finished with Tikkurila's natural stone coating, Yki Aitokivi, which gives them a protective surface,' Aalto says. The work of the painting contractor began in spring 2016, when the developer contacted them in the demolition stage of the site.
'This has been a nice project because we have been involved since the design phase,' says Jarmo Aalto.
Text: Kaisa Majava
Images: Pasi Leino