Built cultural environments of the Geopark

There are diverse built cultural environments in the Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark. The area has historic countryside with peasant houses and more modern architecture.

Built cultural environment

The built cultural environment consists of  structures of a community, buildings with indoor and outdoor spaces, courtyards, parks, bridges and other elements. The built cultural environment includes both old peasant houses and modern industrial buildings. Often the unique architecture as well as the representative buildings and villages sare landmarks and emblems of their area.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Kankaanpää Academy

There are several nationally significant built environments in the Geopark area. There is representative peasant architecture in the villages of Vuorijärvi and Leppijärvi in Siikainen, Karviankylä in Karvia and in the Isojoki River Valley in Isojoki. The red brick architecture of the center of Kankaanpää and the barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison represent modern architecture.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

The peasant architecture of Siikainen

The Siikainen area once had large forest resources and, in addition to them, good log floating opportunities to nearby sawmills. The selling of logs made the peasants wealthy. They showed prosperity by grand buildings. The gems of peasant architecture of Siikainen are decorative and angled glass porches with numerous window panes. Porches were usually decorated by itinerant builders who had gained the skills by building ships. They could get paid a coin, one mark, for every window pane.

Glass porches are beautiful but also laborious to make and maintain. It is said that there was a porch in Ylisentalo in Vuorijärvi Village with a window pane for every day of the year. The hostess of the house was very tired of washing the tiny windows. The decorative glass porch can also be found in the old elementary school in the center of Siikainen, which was built in 1882. The building has been called the porch school and today it is a local history museum.

Photo: Sari Vuorela, Siikainen Local History Museum

The main buildings of the peasant farms are long and narrow. In addition to the beautiful glass porches, the buildings are often decorated with dinner bells on the roofs. Well-preserved examples of the old building stock can be found, for example, in the villages of Vuorijärvi and Leppijärvi.

Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen

Hämes-Havunen

A representative example of 19th-century South Ostrobothnian peasant architecture in Kauhajoki is the Hämes-Havunen closed yard complex. The complex is part of the Hyypänjokilaakso landscape management area and is currently a popular venue. It is the best-preserved old building stock in the area and is closely linked to the history of the settlement of the Kauhajoki River.

Hämes-Havunen’s two-storey main house was built in 1827 and the small house in the 1860s. The third side of the yard is bordered by a long row of barns, and the sides of the area are bordered by animal shelters and a barn. Outside the closed yard you will find a sauna, a workshop and two barns. The buildings were laid out in the shape of a closed yard for practical reasons. The closed yard protected from meat-eating beasts. The construction method also saved space.

Photo: Kauhajoen kaupunki, Hämes-Havunen

Hämes-Havunen is located by the Kyrönjoki River. The old Kyrönkangas road from the medieval times passes the farm. It is known that Tyni Hannunpoika, the ancestor of the Havunen family, arrived along the road in the 17th century. The first building on the site was a fishing hut built by the river. Residential and other buildings were later built. Once a tavern served bypassers in Hämes-Havunen. Construction on the present site began in the 19th century.

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen

An author and a collector of folklore Samuli Paulaharju described the settlement of Kauhajoki in 1935 as follows (in Finnish): ”Sanotaan Hämeen rintamailta, Hauhoosta tulleen ensimmäisen talontekijän näin maille, ja Hämes-Havuusen hän ryskäsi jokirantaan – tulevalle Kauhajoen rinnalle. Kolkkona korpena, rumana ryteikkönä silloin oli koko ranta, kun hauhoolainen sen otti kotopaikakseen.” 

“Mutta rintaa se nyt on. Ja komeana kohoaa nyt Hämes-Havunen rukihisten peltojensa keskellä, ja ylpeinä seisoa könnäävät varijalaat isäntänsä ja kotopaikkansa vartijoona. Siinä kaksikerroksinen tuparati, vellikello vielä harjalla, porttikäytävä pihaan, hauskat ristikkoaidat talontien kahta puolta, ja tien vieressä vanhojen aittojen sievä kunnianarvoisa kolmiyhteys. Hyvin kehtaa olla koko pitäjehen vanhimpana.” 

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen

Hämes-Havunen is a magnificent and nationally valuable architectural heritage site. In Southern Ostrobothnia, the selling of tar made peasants wealthy. Thus it was possible to build grand residential buildings and surrounding outbuildings. Hämes-Havunen had a large amount of forest. Tar as well as animal husbandry made the farm rich. There used to be a tradition in the area that the family house should always be left to the next generation in better condition than it has been received. Thus the farms became more grand generation by generation. The municipality of Kauhajoki bought the building complex in the 1970s and it was renovated.

Photo: Riitta Alapiha, Hämes-Havunen

Sanssi Manor House

Sanssi Manor House, which currently serves as a venue and a banquet hall, is located in the center of Kauhajoki. Despite its name, the building has not been an actual mansion, but a large farm. In the 19th century, this Yli-Knuuttila farm was owned by the Von Schantz family, who came to Finland from Germany, and from which the building got its name. The main building was built in 1863.

The farm was owned by the family for over a hundred years, and during that time the farm had three different masters. All of them were well-known men in Kauhajoki and active in positions of responsibility. The family sold the manor to the municipality of Kauhajoki in 1903, and the building served as a nursing home until 1986. In 1997, Sanssinkartano was renovated to its current glory.

Photo: Sirkku Ylikoski, Sanssi Manor House

Isojoki River Valley village settlement and the church landscape

In Isojoki, the traditional South Ostrobothnian building stock can be found in the Isojoki River Valley. Isojoki was a wilderness area for a long time, until in the 16th century. During the Vaasa period, wilderness began to be inhabited and taken for cultivation. At that time, the settlement naturally settled on the fertile lands of the river valley.

The historical settlement on the ridges of the hills adjacent to the Isojoki River Valley has been preserved in the vicinity of the church and in Koppelonkylä. The area has typical South Ostrobothnian-style long, one-and-a-half-storey peasant buildings with enclosed square courtyards. Old stone fences line the old roads in the Isojoki River Valley. The centerpiece of the field landscape is a cross church designed by Carl Ludvig Engel from 1833.

Photo: Isojoki Church

Karviankylä Village

Karviankylä village represents the oldest village settlement in Karvia, and its history dates back to the mid-17th century. The village has a typical peasant building stock from northern Satakunta. The most notable of the individual buildings is the Lähdeniemi building group, which includes the main building, a granary row, a special-shaped warehouse and an old basement. The small fields of the agricultural landscape slope towards the Karvianjärvi Lake.

Photo: Arto Ala-Karvia, Karviankylä Village

The old granary of Kontti Village

In Kontti Village in Jämijärvi is an interesting historical building, the old granary of Kontti’s farm. The granary may be one of the oldest wooden buildings in Finland and may date from 1553, as this year’s engraving can be found on the wall of the granary. The granary may have been moved to its current location in 1880. According to the memory, the building has been used, among other things, temporarily to store clothes and other small items.

If the granary was indeed built in the 1550s, which is likely, it has its roots in the time hunting and fishing economy of the Northern Satakunta. Therefore, its original use has probably been the preservation of grains and possibly the preservation of game birds and furskins.

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola, Kontti Village

The architecture of Kankaanpää

There is more modern architecture in Kankaanpää, of which’s center is a lively and traditional marketplace. There are business spaces around the marketplace dating back to the reconstruction period. One of the most interesting buildings is Postelli from the 1930s, a former post office. Today, there is a cozy café in the building.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Postelli

In Kankaanpää, market days began to be held in 1902 in the square in front of the church. The market was moved to its current location in 1912, after which the center of Kankaanpää began to form around it. As the popularity of the market grew, the rather small market area was expanded and the sheds with wood shingle roofs were built.

At first, animals were also sold at the market, but later a separate animal market was set up for the animal trade. Partly with the market days, Kankaanpää became the center of its economic area, and the market days became the market of the whole area of the northern Satakunta. The market of Kankaanpää is still lively, and market days are held once a week on Thursdays, and also on Saturdays during the summer.

Photo: Niilo Santaharju, Satakunta Museum, Museovirasto-Finna, Kankaanpää marketplace at 1928

Kankaanpää is known for its distinctive red brick architecture. Red brick was chosen as a façade material due to the local brick industry. Later, red brick was deliberately chosen, and it became a very popular building material in Kankaanpää, both in public buildings and in residential, commercial and industrial construction.

Photo: Juha Levonen, Kankaanpää

The main architectural sites of Kankaanpää are the town hall from 1967 and the sports center and a former parish center, which were completed in the 1970s. These buildings were designed by Kaija and Heikki Siren. The office center, completed in 1992, is also a well-known red brick, and was designed by Kouvo & Partanen Architects. The same office has designed the Kankaanpää Art School, which was completed in 1995. You may find the sites on the architectural map.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Kankaanpään Town Hall

You can get to know the interesting architecture of Kankaanpää with the exhibition VIIVA of the Kankaanpää Town Museum. The exhibition tells about modern architecture and urban planning in Kankaanpää from the 1930s to the present day. The exhibition is open until April 2022.

Photo: Kankaanpään Town Museum

The barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison

The barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison in Kankaanpää is one of the nationally significant built cultural environments. It represents the advanced architecture of the Finnish Defense Forces in the 1930s. The Niinisalo barracks area was established in the 1930s as a nationwide military refresher course center.

The buildings represent ascetic functionalism, characterized by smooth plastered facades. In the middle of the area is a barracks building built in 1935 as a military refresher course center for the army. The main designer of the area was architect Kalle Lehtovuori. In addition to the barracks building, he designed other essential buildings in the 1930s, such as the sauna, the hospital, the kitchen, the canteen as well as the cafe and bakery building, the apartment building of the officers, and the test shooting station.

Photo: Museovirasto-Finna, Niinisalo garrison in 1939

In the 1940s, the LottaSvärd cafe, which is nowadays a canteen, was built. The building was restored in the 1990s according to the original architecture. Next to the building is the former residential building of the Lottas, Impilinna, built in the 1940s.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Niinisalo Canteen

In 1957-1958, residential buildings were built in Niinisalo using the Selvaag method. The Selvaag houses originate in Norway where they were designed for the needs of the post-war housing shortage. The houses have been built using very simple methods without anything useless and irrelevant. The low price of residential houses and the speed of construction were important features during the reconstruction period. In Finland, in addition to Niinisalo, there are Selvaag houses in Helsinki, Oulu and Joensuu, among others.

Photo: Laura Koivumäki, Niinisalon Selvaag Houses

The built cultural environments are the representative landmarks of the Geopark

Cultural environments representing different eras and building styles can be found in the Geopark area. The unique architecture and buildings are representative landmarks of municipalities and villages. Peasant architecture expresses former life in the countryside. The area’s natural resources of the forests made the peasants wealthy. The wealth was shown by grand houses with beautiful porches. Across the Geopark area you can find such Magnificent old peasant houses and these historic courtyards.

Photo: Eino Nikkilä, Museokeskus-Finna, Otamo’s Vanhatalo at 1930

Those looking for more modern architecture can admire Kankaanpää’s distinctive red-brick architecture and the town’s lively market square with its surroundings. By the Niinisalo garrison, you can get acquainted with the nationally significant built environment. The garrison brought life and services to the area. In the 1940s, several cafés, a hotel and a cinema were found along the village road of Niinisalo.

Photo: Museovirasto-Finna, Niinisalo Centre at the 1970’s

Text: Jenna-Maria Lehmijoki

Main photo: Riitta Alapiha

Photos of the other headings: Terttu Hermansson, Julia Kivelä

Literature (in Finnish):

Collander, Raija. 1999. Siikaisten lasikuistit – Pohjois-Satakunnan kaunottaret.

Kankaanpään kaupunginmuseo Museo – Kankaanpään kaupunki (kankaanpaa.fi) 

Kankaanpään kulttuuriympäristöohjelma https://www.kankaanpaa.fi/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Kankaanpaan_kulttuuriymparistoohjelma.pdf 

Museovirasto https://www.museovirasto.fi/fi/kulttuuriymparisto/rakennettu-kulttuuriymparisto/valtakunnallisesti-merkittavat-rakennetut-kulttuuriymparistot

Lions Club Kauhajoki ry. 2006. Hämes-Havunen – Pohjalaista rakennustaitoa jälkipolville.  Hämes-Havunen | Kauhajoki tutuksi

Museoviraston Valtakunnallisesti merkittävät rakennetut kulttuuriympäristöt –palvelu RKY  ι  Museovirasto

Parkanon rakennetun ympärstön selvitys https://www.parkano.fi/images/stories/Parkanon_rakennetut_kulttuuriympristt.pdf

Pihlaja, Mirjam. 1984. Isojoen pitäjän kirja

Satakunnan Museon y-pakki palvelu y-pakki – tietoa palvelusta (y-pakki.fi)

Selvaag-talot https://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selvaag-talo

Siikaisten matkailukohteet Kohteet – Siikainen 

Uusi-Seppä, Niina. 2012. Satakunnan kulttuuriympäristöt – eilen, tänään, huomenna.

Valonen, N. 1946. Vuosiluvulla merkittyjä rakennuksia Ikaalisten ja Parkanon seudulta. Satakunnan Kotiseutututkimuksia 12.

Explore the Geopark’s valuable built cultural environments

Hämes-Havunen

Learn more on the web pages of Kauhajoki (in Finnish).

Address: Koskenkyläntie 312, Kauhajoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.38943, 22.23896

Photo: Riitta Alapiha

THE VILLAGE SETTLEMENT OF THE ISOJOKI VALLEY AND THE CHURCH LANDSCAPE OF THE ISOJOKI RIVER

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Honkajoentie 1, Isojoki (Isojoen kirkon parkkipaikka)

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.11373, 21.95791

Photo: Isojoki Church

The architecture of Kankaanpää

Learn more the web pages of Visit Kankaanpää (in Finnish).

Address: Kauppatori 2, Kankaanpää (Kankaanpään marketplace)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.80447, 22.39438

Photo: Kankaanpää

Karviankylä Village

Learn more the Lauhanvuoriregion.fi web pages.

Address: Karviankyläntie 592, Karvia

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.21920, 22.67459

Photo: Arto Ala-Karvia, Karviankylä Village

The old granary of Kontti Village

Address: Private

Photo: Tuomo Leikkola

The barracks area of the Niinisalo garrison

Learn more on the web pages of Finnish Heritage Agency (in Finnish).

Address: Kotitie 32, Niinisalo (Niinisalo Canteen)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.83884, 22.46868

Photo: Museovirasto-Finna

Sanssi Manor House

Learn more on the web pages of Sanssi Manor House (in Finnish).

Address: Ullantie 7, Kauhajoki

Coordinates (WGS84): 62.42490, 22.17587

Photo: Sanssi Manor House

The peasant architecture of Siikainen

Learn more on the web pages of Siikainen (in Finnish).

Address: Kirkkotie 3, Siikainen (Siikainen Local History Museum)

Coordinates (WGS84): 61.87163, 21.81983

Photo: Sari Vuorela

There is valuable cultural heritage in the Geopark