Master's thesis:
[in Finnish]


Author: 			Aimo Nissi
Name of the Master’s thesis :	Pasilan konepaja, The Railway works at Pasila
Date:				2.5.1997
Faculty and Professorship:	Faculty of Architecture, History of architecture
Main tutor:			Vilhelm Helander
Documents:			Written document and 6 mounted sheets

The Railway works at Pasila

About History

The first railway works in Finland was built in Helsinki obviously according to German and British patterns. The architect was C. A. Edelfelt, who designed also the railway stations for the first, in the year 1862 opened railway from Helsinki to Hämeenlinna.

Up to the year 1890, also the works at Viipuri, St. Petersburg, Hankoniemi, Turku, Vaasa, Oulu and Kuopio were built. While the traffic increased the works were enlarged. The works in Helsinki was situated near to the main railway station with lack of extra space. It could not be enlarged anymore in the end of 1890’s. Therefore a new works at Pasila was built between the years 1899-1901. An industrial activity began there in the year 1903.

The first buildings at Pasila works were designed by Bruno F. Granholm, the railway architect since the year 1892. He is the architect of the major part of the railway buildings of the period, when the network was strongly enlarged. Therefore Finnish railway architecture owes a lot to B. F. Granholm.

Before his career as railway architect Granholm was working among others for Theodor Höijer. Höijer and Chiewitz, the master teacher of Höijer, were pioneers of industrial architecture in Finland. The railway works at Pasila represents by that means the tradition of Finnish industrial architecture of the late 19th century. Even though the New Renaissance style was the leading architectural style of dwelling houses and public buildings, industrial buildings and warehouses with red brick facades were designed mainly in the New Gothic style with features of German Hansa architecture. In the facades of Pasila works one can also see influence of National Romanticism. The use of iron pillars and girders as well as skylight reflects the technical progress in industrial architecture of the late 19th century.

According to the rationalization programme of State Railways published in the year 1987 the Pasila works will cease its activities. A part of the buildings on the works area are empty and some smaller buildings have been pulled down. The oldest buildings will be preserved because of their cultural and historical value. In my study I have also evaluated the excisting buildings of the other Finnish railway works in order to set aims for building preservation.

In 20th century there has been made several town planning schemes of Helsinki in which the area of Pasila works has also been examined. In some of these schemes the works has been taken away - in some of them it has been adjusted to the scheme. In the urban visions, I have analysed, the neighborhood of the regional Center of Pasila has been built with high efficiency, the urban railway being layd out alongside of the area. Also the importance of the parkway corridor from the Central Park to the NE regions of Helsinki has been emphasized.

The Plan

The City of Helsinki is planning the free areas of Pasila works mainly for housing. In my plan I am presenting an alternative principle. The main part of the area which consists of the buildings that are to be preserved as well as the new construction, will be reserved for public and commercial activities. As a starting point I find the developing alternatives of the heavy rail traffic according to which there will be located a metro station on this area. For the big workhalls can then be showed a new usage suitable to their scale.

The most important new buildings of my plan are the theatre and the hotel. These are marking the square at the crossing of the streets Sturenkatu and Aleksis Kiven katu where one metro entrance is situated. The other metro entrance will be inside of the carridge repairing hall, that will be changed to a traditional market hall. Instead of the vans and carridges there will be selling kiosks and stalls. The workplace transmit traffic through the hall to the posts of Vallila office and small-scale industry area, and other customers using metro create a base of the commercial profitability.

Some other uses for the old buildings are for instance crematorium chapel in the old power plant, music school in the old smithy, the workers institute in the former canteen. Into the smaller workshall will be built workshops for artisans, and nearby the theatre a hall will be changed to a festival hall for popular concerts. Alongside Teollisuuskatu the electric train department will be partly pushed down, and there will be situated presenting and customer service spaces for the enterprices of Vallila. The warehouse alongside Aleksis Kiven katu with an additional small enlargement will be a scientific library with studio spaces for investigators.

The old traverses of the railway yard will be changed to bassins. Previously the vans were transported on conveyor platforms from one rail to another. Now the movable bridges mark the proper entrances among the equal driving doorways.

New residential quarters will be built in the NW part of the old railway yard and alogside Aleksis Kiven katu. Between these blocks will be left a wedge-shaped park opening towards Pasila. The small old houses in the park that are to be kept will be used as kindergarten and clubrooms. Over Teollisuuskatu and railway ravine will be built a park-like deck, that will be bordered by two long and low office buildings. Under the deck there will be a parking place. The park-like deck is carring through the idea of a greenbelt extending from the Central Park to NE direction through the Valley of Vallila towards the Old Town.

Extracts from the master's thesis "Pasilan konepaja", Aimo Nissi, 1997