Other Participants: SWECO PM Oy (Project Management); SWECO Rakennetekniikka Oy (Structural design); SWECO Talotekniikka (HVAC&Electrical design); Paloässät Oy (Fire consultant); RTA Yhtiöt Oy (Main Contractor); Empower Oy (Power Line and Landscape Portal Contractor); ABB Finland Oy (Electrical Equipment Supplier).
Text description provided by the architects. The power station is sited at a highly visible location at the corner of Ring Road III and the Porvoonväylä highway. The construction project dealt with the expansion and renewal of Fingrid’s 400 kV Länsisalmi electric power station. Electricity is transmitted from Fingrid’s main grid through the power station to the 800 000 residents of Vantaa and Helsinki.
The architectonic concept derives its inspiration from electricity and its visual manifestation: light. The juxtaposition of energy flowing through the power station with the flow of vehicular traffic passing by the site inspired us to create a visually attractive and memorable architectural entity.
The placement of the building volumes on the site, as well as their plan configurations, follow functional requirements without, however, setting any strict boundaries that would have inhibited creative and open-minded architectonic expression. Thus what is generally a greyish and nondescript transformer building became a gleaming lantern and an ordinary vertically trussed landscape portal became an approximately 50 metre-high classically arch-shaped icon for the area.
The transformer building’s main materials are naturally coloured graphic concrete and glass. The facades’ most visible themes are cladding elements assembled from glass planks detached 600 mm from the main volume. When the interstice is illuminated in the evening, the lantern-like buildings express electricity as a visible phenomenon. The selected glass type provides a direct association with the glazed insulators used extensively in the electricity distribution industry.
A switchgear room and its cable space underneath occupy the largest spaces in the 3-storey concrete-framed GIS building. Other technical facilities are distributed over three floors on the building’s southern side.
The high arch-shaped landscape portal has been fabricated from Corten steel tubes with a diameter of 800 mm. Corten steel’s maintenance-free characteristic was an important factor in its selection for such a high structure. Corten’s natural and warm rusty colour resonates harmoniously with the other façade.