Time marches on and the tower project advances. Slowly. Slower than I’d hope, but it’s a complicated project and so this was expected. If you want to know when the tower will open officially to the public, all I can say is “we’re working on it”. But if you want to know details about the progress, please read on. There are several things happening in parallel and they are all advancing.
We’re working on it
This is the most important part of the project right now. What are we going to build? How will we build it? What kind of business will it be? Although we’re focusing only on the area below the water tank (auditorium and public sauna will come later), it is still a lot to coordinate. Here are some of the challenges and why we’re still working on it.
- LVI design is challenging. Lots of machines that take up a lot of space. We want to preserve both inside and outside spaces as much as possible so it is a challenge to hide the machines. If we put all the machines on the ground floor we don’t have space for the kitchen. If we try to put all the machines on the water tank we have to break the water tank floor. Do we have enough space between the structural beams to lift them? How do we provide ventilation without affecting the look of the facade? We’ve gone over many possible solutions in the planning. We have ideas. We’re working on it.
- It’s everybody’s tower. With a project of this magnitude, you have to coordinate with many people. Rakennusvalvonta must like our plans. Museovirasto must like our plans. The neighbors must like our plans. They have all been really friendly and cooperative. I’m really happy about that. But we still have to keep in touch and make sure that our ideas make sense to them. This takes time. We must coordinate before we explore each solution in detail. We’re all working on it.
- Façade. It was clear from the beginning that the facade was not in perfect condition. It needs fixing. We have been investigating its condition and considering solutions. The obvious solution is to do an entire renovation of it. But that would be prohibitively expensive. It’s also not in such a bad shape that that would be necessary. So we have explored a couple of partial solutions that would allow us to open and do the fixes progressively. The final solution has to be agreed by museovirasto, rakennusvalvonta, rappaus professionals, the bank, etc. We are working on it.
- Café. As a computer vision engineer, designing the business plan for a café is an interesting challenge. Fortunately I’ve had some help from folks that know more than I do. We have a kitchen plan thanks to Dieta Oy. They’ve been very supportive to help put my thoughts on paper. We have a draft of the menu that the café might serve (sorry, can’t show it yet). Our business plan also has a growing list of the activities that the café can support: acoustic music evenings, halloween parties, murder mystery, rappelling groups, art exhibition opening party, storytelling evenings, open mics, yoga on the top balcony, rope acrobatic presentations, slackline mondays, etc. The way I see it, the goal of the café is not to sell coffee and pulla. The goal is to enable all the other awesome activities that can happen in the tower. Many of the architectural choices will influence this plan, so we’re still working on it.
- Vertical movie theater. Let’s watch a movie in the tower. But lets put a bunch of mattresses on the floor and have a floating screen above us. Yes. We’ll do that. We’re still working on the practical details but we’ll do that.
We’re working on it
I might not be able to design the structural components of the upcoming platforms… but I can surely demolish the existing ones. Demolishing of the unnecessary existing structures has been happening in parallel with the planning. There was a lot of demolition last year with the vertical wooden shaft. This year I’ve been demolishing the old rooms on the ground floor. There is no hurry with this though, since the planning is still incomplete. So I go there when I can and hack at stuff while I still have energy.
- Demolish what? Some of the walls on the ground floor are from 1927. The room on the west end with brick walls was constructed with the tower to house the heating equipment. Nowadays it is used as the electrical room. The other walls are from 1960 when the room was extended to cover half of the bottom floor. DNA Oyj used to occupy all these rooms, but they have kindly reduced their needs to 1/4 of the ground floor, so we get more space for the tower project. That means the roof and walls from the other half have to be demolished to make way for the new layout.
- Time capsules: While bringing down the roof I found a message from the kirvesmies that built the extension in 1960. “Olavi Paloniemi, Kampitie 4B, Nokelassa. 7 lasta ja akka.” It was a pretty nice surprise. After taking down the outer layer of the old wall I also found some old initials “EK”. I wonder how old these are. I think I’ll save this brick.
- Helping friends: Although I’ve done most of the demolishing myself to the sound of AC/DC. Sometimes I get a helping hand and it’s very appreciated. Especially when it’s about shovelling endless amounts of wood shavings. And believe me… wood shavings are everywhere…
- Demolishing puzzle: You can’t take down the walls before you take down the roof. You can’t take the bottom of the roof before you take away the wood shavings. DNA cables are still attached to the wall that needs to be demolished. You can’t drop the roof because it breaks the cables. One bit at a time. Still, it is hard to describe how awesome it feels to be able to use a ladder instead of ropes. I love my new ladder.
Demolishing is not quite done yet. The roofs are gone. The cables are safe. Only the brick walls are left. But guess what is inside of the brick wall… wood shavings… We’re working on it.
We’re working on it
Demolition and planning are the main tasks that move the project forward. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun in the mean time. Even though it is hard to use the tower without any infrastructure, some things are still happening.
- Master thesis: Juho Tastula presented his master thesis work on the tower. It was a pretty awesome presentation and his work will be the main inspiration for the tower project.
- Rappel: Oulun Kiipeilyseura ry holds rappelling sessions for groups in the tower. It’s a fun way to face your fear of heights.
- Pictures: Oulun Kameraseura ry visited the tower a couple of weeks ago. You can see some of their pictures here:
I’m happy to enable any other fun things on or about the tower. If you have something in mind, lets work on it!
Now back to planning…