Myllykoski church extension

Additional building to an early 20th century church in a historically significant industrial town in Kouvola area, Finland. Project based on a competition-winning design.

Image work detail

Myllykoski is a town built around the once-lucrative paper industry, with a large factory towering over the whole town. Due to historic significance, the Myllykoski town center and the nearby industrial area are protected by the Finnish Board of Antiquities. The changes in demand have since caused the paper factory to shut down, which has had a big impact on the livelihood of the town. An architectural competition was held in spring 2016 to envisage a new extension to the central landmark church, with the intention of regenerating the surroundings.

The author's competition-winning entry has been further developed in this project in collaboration with the users and engineers, anticipating the following realisation. The proposed design creates a functional extension in a context-sensitive way, respecting the scale and characteristics of the existing early 20th century church architecture, the original industrial buildings as well as the surrounding small-scale housing. The extension's material palette, humane scale and streamlined aesthetics simultaneously reflect the nationally significant legacy of Myllykoski, its factories and villas, modest workers' houses and the simple yet majestic church. Traditional building techniques such as massive brick walls and a lightweight timber roof structure are utilised. Meanwhile the extension still clearly represents the modern age without resorting to pastiche. The result is a new construction deeply rooted in its historical context by virtue of sensitive design.