Imatra GIS Electricity Substation by Virkkunen and Co Architects

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DESIGN DETAILS
DESIGN NAME:
Imatra GIS

PRIMARY FUNCTION:
Electricity Substation

INSPIRATION:
The beautiful landscape and the historical significance of the area were the primary sources of inspiration for us. The existing, impressive industrial architecture of the context was another major factor in the design. The guiding principle has been that the new structures should form a clearly defined new historical layer. They would also have to be timeless and combine harmoniously with the context. We sought to further elevate the beauty of the site.

UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The project is composed of an electricity substation building and an array of five designer power pylons and terminals, set in the national landscape of Imatrankoski rapids in Eastern Finland. The new structures were designed to be in balance with the surrounding landscape. Their design breaks apart aspects of the built context and reassembles them in a new abstracted form. A combination of hand-made and industrial materials and structures is used to achieve this.

OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Imatra electricity substation and the transmission structures are not fenced off from the surroundings and they can be approached freely. The substation is an unmanned facility that is mainly remote-controlled from a central control room located off-site. It is visited regularly for inspection and maintenance purposes by trained personnel. In the main process equipment room, the users control the switchgear equipment on a workstation designed for this purpose.

PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
Project completed: 2020 Location: Imatra, Finland

FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Architecture, Building and Structure Design

PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The substation building has a concrete frame and double-skin facades. The outermost facade layer consists of hand-made long bricks laid in a zig-zag profile. The brick cladding is supported by a steel frame fixed to the inner concrete facades. The concrete structure consists of pre-fabricated and in-situ parts. The transmission structures are made of triangular welded steel profiles. They consist of workshop-made, coated pre-fabricated sections assembled and erected on the site without welding.

SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The substation building floor area: 965 sqm. Length x width x height of the building 44,1 m x 13,2 m x 8,1 m.

TAGS:
infrastructure, architecture, landscape, electricity substation, transmission, power line, brick, concrete, steel

RESEARCH ABSTRACT:
We used site visits and literature sources for determining visual and historical factors that would most influence and serve the design. Literature about the history of the landscape, tourism, architecture, and industry in the area was used. The finding that had the most impact on the design was based on the analysis of the external architecture of the old hydropower plant: the rhythm of the facade openings, and the materials used in the buildings.

CHALLENGE:
The main challenge was architectural rather than technical, due to the qualities of the surrounding landscape and the history of the area. Visual and structural coherence of the distinct parts and general sensitivity to the context were methods for overcoming this challenge. We arrived at the final design through a process of elimination. Dozens of prototype 3D models were evaluated for impact in a detailed and accurate site model based on an extensive point-cloud data set of the area.

ADDED DATE:
2021-02-26 12:59:03

TEAM MEMBERS (3) :
Tuomas Kivinen, Anna Blomqvist and Maria Karjalainen

IMAGE CREDITS:
Image #1: Photographer Tuomas Kivinen, 2020.
Image #2: Photographer Tuomas Kivinen, 2021.
Image #3: Photographer Tuomas Kivinen, 2020.
Image #4: Photographer Tuomas Kivinen, 2021.
Image #5: Photographer Tuomas Kivinen, 2021.

Visit the following page to learn more: https://bit.ly/31yfWjp
CLIENT/STUDIO/BRAND DETAILS
NAME:
Virkkunen & Co Architects

PROFILE:
A Helsinki-based architecture office with over 60 years of experience. The company is focused on the industrial sector with an emphasis on designing and planning energy infrastructure. Recent work is characterized by the demands set on the design quality of the new infrastructure of an increasingly urbanizing world.

NOMINATION DETAILS

Imatra Gis Electricity Substation by Virkkunen and Co Architects is a Nominee in Architecture, Building and Structure Design Category.

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AWARD DETAILS

Imatra Gis Electricity Substation by Virkkunen and Co Architects is Winner in Architecture, Building and Structure Design Category, 2020 - 2021.



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