Architecture in North Karelia
There are several culturally and historically valuable built environments in North Karelia. The manor houses in North Karelia are part of the historically significant scenery. There were no real mansions in the region, but farms called manors were used by civil servants as places of administration and residence. There were eight manors in North Karelia, the most significant of which was the manor of Jouhkola in Tohmajärvi. Nowadays the manor of Jouhkola provides accommodation as well as catering, meeting and programme services.
Undeniable treasures of wooden architecture are represented by Puu-Juuka and Puu-Nurmes. The old village centre of the municipality of Juuka is called Puu-Juuka, which can be called a sample of the lost building tradition. Its oldest houses date from the end of the 19th century and the latest from the 1960s. Puu-Nurmes is an old, idyllic and historically valuable area with wooden houses. The town plan created by Julius Basier and enforced by the emperor of Russia in 1879 with its fire passages and planted birch trees still exists. Most of the houses were built in the years 1880-1930. Nurmes is also known as “the town of birches” because of 4000 birches growing there. A fascinating area with wooden houses can also be found in the very centre of Joensuu, where the Handicraft Center is used as a quarter for tourism, handicraft and culture.
Some interesting samples of modern wooden structures are, for example, the Joensuu Arena and the Metla House. The Joensuu Arena is the biggest wooden building in Finland, and it was taken into use in 2004. To manifacture the wooden structural parts of the Arena, 4000 m3 of heavy timber was needed, which corresponds to 15 hectars of excellent coniferous forest. The Arena can be partitioned for different purposes, and big events like meetings, concerts, sports events, festivals and fairs are arranged in its premises. The Metla House in Joensuu was completed in 2004 and was then the first wooden three-storey office building with a wooden frame in Finland. Almost all 24 species of trees growing in Finland have been used in its structures and in the interior. The Metla House has received several significant prizes and it is also a popular place to visit.
The oldest stone building in Joensuu is situated on the island of Niskasaari, very close to the centre. The town of Joensuu had been established in 1848. In those days taxes were paid in the form of grain, and a decision was made to build a new store house for tax grain to replace the old run-down store house. The new building was completed in 1852 and was later called Pielisjoki Castle. The building has later had several uses, and at the moment it houses the offices of the Regional Council of North Karelia. One of the best-known landmarks in Joensuu is the school building designed by architect Theodor Decker and completed in 1894. The classical secondary school for boys worked there until the year 1974. At the moment the Art Museum is located there. Another prominent stone building in Joensuu is the Town Hall completed in 1914 and designed by architect Eliel Saarinen.