Karjasilta Residential Area

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Photo: Jonas Malmberg
  • PlaceOulu
  • Completion 1940s–50s
  • Decade1940s
  • PeriodThe post-war reconstruction era
  • Year of selection2017


Karjasilta is a residential area in Oulu dating from the post-war reconstruction period. The area of one-and-a-half-storey detached houses extends over an area of almost one square kilometre. In addition to the traditional war veterans’ houses, there are also single-storey houses as well as apartment blocks built in wood and brick. The area was built at an intensive pace from 1940 to 1959. Since then only individual buildings have been added to the area. The total population in the area is just over 3000.

The Karjasilta area previously consisted of fields and woods. In the first town plan, drawn up by city architect Martti Heikura, the road delineations followed old cart roads and the wooded areas were retained as parks. The town plan solution is the same throughout the whole area: the houses are placed in a regular fashion along the streets and with the main yards at the rear. The plots are demarcated by fences. Small parks are interspersed within the area, which as a whole is bordered by large green buffer zones. The yards are divided into three sections: between the street and the house is a front yard with ornamental plants, in the centre of the yard is a seating area and at the rear is an outbuilding and space for an extensive kitchen garden. At the time of its completion, the area was open and somewhat rugged, but after more than half a century it has become lush and garden-like.

Karjasilta is an example of the rationalization typical of the post-war reconstruction period. The major part of the low-rise housing was built using standardised drawings. More than 20 different house types can be found in Karjasilta. Construction in the area in fact began when the first houses gifted from Sweden were erected on the site, Oulu having received a total of 48 prefabricated wooden houses, which were financed by fund-raising in Sweden. Due to a shortage of bricks, the single-family houses usually had only one chimney, centrally placed and around which the rooms were gathered. This gave rise to the cubic shape of the buildings. Most of the houses had a balloon-frame timber structure. The traditional external cladding was either vertically-oriented board and batten cladding or horizontal boarding. The trims around the windows were simple and unadorned.

Since amendments to the town plan in 1980, most of the houses in Karjasilta have been extended. Furthermore, numerous changes have been made to their façades. Although the degree of preservation of the features of the post-war reconstruction era varies for individual buildings, the area as a whole still has the recognisable appearance of its time. Almost the entire building stock dates from the reconstruction era, the street views are still intact and the area town-plan structure has been preserved.


Venla Leppänen, Veera Sanaksenaho

Arvokkaita alueita Oulussa. Osa I (1999). Oulun kaupunkisuunnittelu Sarja A 134. Oulu: Oulun kaupunki.
Niskala, Kaarina & Okkonen, Ilpo (2002). Oulun graadi – 350 vuotta asemakaavoitusta.  Oulu: Studio Ilpo Okkonen Oy.
Oulun asemakaavoitus (2014). Karjasilta. Rakennetun ympäristön inventointi 2014. Oulu: Oulun kaupunki: https://www.ouka.fi/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=5964cd83-b393-4653-8046-966c7d08f108&groupId=64220 (haettu/accessed 20.2.2017).

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