Hello, keeper here. The blog has been quiet but only because the tower has kept me really busy. I have now officially owned the tower for a year. Time flies but not in vain. This is a recap of all that has happened during the year. Of course much more has happened, but these are the highlights.
Figuring out what to do
When I got the tower I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it. Even when I settled with the idea of a “cultural center”, that was still abstract. Moreover, I had no experience with any sort of construction, renovation, or even business in general, so I was pretty lost. The beginning consisted of reaching out to everyone I could think of and see who was interested to help. Of course not everyone was interested, not everyone returned my calls nor emails, but I did find people that have supported me and have greatly helped me push the project forward. I could mention those that have helped the most, and to whom I’m very much in debt, butI think you know who you are and it might not be fair to the dozens that have also helped even a little bit. I’m grateful to all and the tower is at your service.
Early on I learned that reaching out to big machines, like the department of architecture of the University of Oulu, doesn’t really pay off. Luckily, reaching out to people does work. I put out an invitation to work with architectural students and got a rather big crowd to visit the tower. A really good partner came out of that: architect student Juho Tastula. With his help I managed to put my ideas to paper and the abstract “cultural center” became a solid Master thesis work. Thanks to Juho the tower got a website, plans, and renders I could use to show what will become of it. This was an exciting time to see how the tower virtually transformed into the cultural center I was hoping for.
The tower participated in the Oulun Saunaviikko. We organized a tent sauna on the front yard (cause the one on the cupola is not ready yet). We took the opportunity to show off Juho’s architectural plans. Although it was a pretty nice event we had a huge storm that scared the people away. Lots of free coffee and pulla left over 🙁
You have to alternate between thinking and doing, or at least I do. So even though the plans were not ready, I decided to do some real work and take down things that had to be taken down anyway. We took down two things: an old military antenna that was broken and dangerous, and the wooden structure that provided insulation for the old water pipes.
The old antenna was tricky. It was pretty tall and several hundred kilos heavy, but rusted and broken inside the cupola. That made it pretty dangerous. I was ready to give up and “call a guy” but we finally came up with a safe plan (thanks Olli!). So we fixed it. We fixed it first and then we destroyed it. Took it down piece by piece. Pretty exciting to work an angle grinder on the top of the cupola at 45m under the midnight sun.
But that was nothing like the excitement of demolishing the wooden structure. The awkward location meant that it all had to be done while hanging from a rope. Sometimes with a crowbar, sometimes with a reciprocating saw, sometimes with a chainsaw. Good times. That little wooden structure was finally around 2 metric tons of wood and 16.000L of wood shavings. Good times.
The demolition was done with a deadline because the Flow Productions team had rented the tower and they were waiting and excited to move in. They took the tower in August and this month (September) the open their modern dance performance “Torni”. Check out their trailer
. I might be biased, but I think it is great and highly recommend it! It is so great to finally see some life in the tower. It doesn’t look as cold and lonely as that first day.Next steps
The design team is almost assembled. alt Architects are designing the first phase of the project. We hope to apply for the building permit soon. Demolishing was fun, but I’m dying to get some construction done too. Like always, if you are in Oulu and you want to contribute or get involved with the project, don’t hesitate to contact me. All help is useful.