Backround

From Queen to Led Zeppelin, the iconic event space House of Culture, Helsingin Kulttuuritalo, owned by Helsingin Kulttuurihub, has played host to a plethora of legendary performers throughout its years of operation. In the autumn of 2023, House of Culture underwent a comprehensive revitalization, overseen by Helsingin Kulttuurihub and the new venue and event operator ASM Global. Fyra was involved as the principal architectural designer, while JKMM Interiors worked as the interior designers. The project focused on refurbishing and enhancing the public areas of the epochal event hall originally designed by Alvar Aalto in 1958, a site designated for preservation under the Building Protection Act since 1989.

Client
Helsingin Kulttuurihub, ASM Finland

Location
Helsinki

Area
Aaltosali 1150 m², Alppisali 465 m²

Year
2024

Partners
JKMM Interiors

Photography
Hannu Rytky

Details

Strategy

The primary emphasis of the restoration and renovation efforts for the public areas has been on establishing a functional setting for events, all the while paying tribute to the cultural and historical significance of the protected building. Alongside the building, the scope of protection extends to its intended purpose – program and civic activities, for which operating conditions must be secured in the future. ASM Finland’s vision aimed to broaden the venue’s appeal, transcending traditional boundaries of genres. The strategy involved curating unique experiences and events, catering to diverse audiences from large-scale concerts and corporate gatherings to electronic club nights.

Delivery

The most significant and visible transformation work has been carried out in Alppisali, revitalizing the space that has stood dormant for years. Originally designed as a cinema and undergoing different renovations over years, Alppisali has been revived and is now operational as “Kult”, a black box type DJ and live music club accommodating over 300 patrons. The original brick foyer by Alvar Aalto and the entrance at the south end of the House of Culture, which has been out of use for years, were also integrated into the black box club. The clubbing will also expand into the underused Peilisali, a versatile and intimate event space.

The design process for the Kult club and other public areas was a collaborative effort involving Helsingin Kulttuurihub, ASM Finland, Fyra, and JKMM Interiors. Furthermore, Fyra, in its role as the principal designer, undertook the task of expanding the capacity of Aaltosali. This expansion enables the lower auditorium to function flexibly, accommodating both seated and standing audiences.

Team

Merja Virkkunen

Architect
Principal Designer

merja.virkkunen@fyra.fi

+358 (0)40 515 3697