Kudeneule Factory

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Photo: Heikki Havas / MFA
  • PlaceHanko
  • Completion 1956
  • Decade1950s
  • PeriodPost-war modernism
  • Year of selection1993


An invited architecture competition for the Hyvon-Kudeneule Oy textile factory, offices and residential area was held at the turn of 1953-54, and was won by Viljo Revell. A plot was assigned for the factory on the scenic seafront of Silversand in Hanko. In his design Revell cleverly utilized height differences in the terrain, and indeed, the factory building is in balance with its surroundings. The advanced building technology is combined with a straightforward form language. The residential area was not built, however, in accordance with Revell’s plan.

Before the construction of the factory, the managing director and owner Aarne Karjalainen and Revell made two study trips to the United States. Revell indeed began to develop the floor plan for the production hall following the principles of Henry Ford. The rectangular hall is a single space efficiently lit by natural light. Branching off at right-angles from the main hall are two narrower wings, supported on pillars, which originally housed offices and employee social spaces. One of Revell’s main objectives had been to create a good working environment: special attention was paid to lighting and the interiors. The furniture of the modern landscape offices and entrance hall was designed by Antti Nurmesniemi.

The factory’s rationalist appearance reflected the work process that took place inside. The building has a reinforced concrete post-and-beam structure, which allowed for future expansions. In the first phase, only around 100 metres of the originally planned 250 metre-long factory hall was built. In 1960-61 it was extended by 30 metres. The outer walls were of the curtain wall type, familiar from American commercial buildings. Chipboard, which served as the insulating material, was integrated into the prefabricated wall panels. Revell used corrugated aluminium for exterior facades, a material which was very much in favour in the 1950s. The complex includes a separate power plant.

The architecture of the Kudeneule factory has been compared to Eero Saarinen’s work, in particular the General Motors Technical Center buildings in Detroit (1949-56). Saarinen and Revell knew each other and they met when Revell visited the United States prior to designing the Kudeneule factory. The American influence is also evident in the design of the factory grounds. In Finland the surroundings of industrial sites were preferably left in their natural state. The surroundings of the Kudeneule factory were refined with the addition of embankments and lawns, and the water pool in front of the building is surrounded by paving.

Hyvon-Kudeneule ceased its operations in the factory during the 1970s. Since then, manufacturing has continued in the buildings; for instance, the manufacture of aluminium cans and tubes.


Elina Standertskjöld

Lehto, Tiina (1989). Hangon rakennuskulttuuri ja kulttuurimaisema. Tammisaari: Hangon museon julkaisuja n:o 8.
Rewell, Viljo (1956). ”Kudeneule Oy”, Arkkitehti 11-12/1956.
Standertskjöld, Elina (2008). Arkkitehtuurimme vuosikymmenet 1930-1950. Helsinki: Rakennustietosäätiö, Rakennustieto Oy, Suomen rakennustaiteen museo.

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