Alko Rajamäki Factory

1935–1939
thumb image
Photo: Rafael Roos / MFA
  • PlaceNurmijärvi
  • Completion 1935–1939
  • Decade1930s
  • PeriodConstructing the identity of a newly independent nation
  • Year of selection1993

 

The Rajamäki factory community originated in 1888 when a yeast factory was founded in Nurmijärvi. The factory was purchased by the Finnish State in 1920 and with the end of prohibition in 1932 ownership passed to the state-owned monopoly Oy Alkoholiliike Ab. Construction then began on a new factory, designed by Erkki Huttunen, which would be responsible for almost the entire production of alcohol in Finland. After the war and up until the 1970s, the architect Einari Teräsvirta, who had previously worked in Huttunen’s office, was responsible for the further planning in the factory. The Rajamäki community originated and grew around the factory.

In Huttunen’s plan the units for the different functions are grouped together as a complex, but with the water tower and power plant standing separate from it. The first building stage, completed in 1935, consisted of the alcohol storage, distillery, dispatch station and carbon-filtration plant sited next to the railway track. These were linked to the potato distillery building via a laboratory bridge extending over the central courtyard. In 1937 a new spirits factory, electrical and mechanical repair shop, as well as a canteen and garage were built south of the complex. During the following two years an office and vinegar factory were built. In 1935 and 1938 Huttunen designed semi-detached houses for the factory workers, as well as a church. In 1985 the church was donated to the parish of Nurmijärvi, and has retained its original appearance.

The factory milieu built by the alcohol company is a reflection of the design principles of the 1930s, which stemmed from the internal functions, and where the architect applied Functionalist themes such as extensive glass surfaces, strip windows and concrete canopies. A cohesive and nuanced complex was created by means of varying arched and tower-like forms, steppings in the form and different materials (red brick, white-painted concrete and glass). Reinforced concrete plays a central role in the structures. Due to later construction work, the facades, interiors and functions of the buildings from the 1930s have partly been altered.

The Rajamäki factory area, consisting of the production plants and other buildings of varying ages, is a complex of national significance. The future of the area is somewhat open, and some of the buildings are unoccupied or used as storage spaces. The aim, however, is to retain the area for industrial use, combined with new commercial ventures.

 

Teppo Jokinen

__________
Helasvuo, Olli; Svartström, Niina & Mustonen, Tapani (2011). Rajamäen tehtaat 1888–1959, radanvarren tehdaskokonaisuus. Rakennushistoriallinen selvitys vuosien 1888–1959 rakennuskannasta. Arkkitehdit Mustonen Oy. Helsinki: Altia.
Huttunen, Erkki (1936). ”Oy Alkoholiliike Ab Rajamäen Tehtaat”. Arkkitehti 4/1936.
Huttunen, Erkki (1940). ”Rajamäen kirkko”. Arkkitehti 7–8/1940.
Jokinen, Teppo (1992). Erkki Huttunen liikelaitosten ja yhteisöjen arkkitehtina 1928–1939. Jyväskylä Studies in the Arts, 41. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto.