Published in 2/2023 - Care


“We Were Involved in Every Design Meeting”, Says the Director on the Myllypuro Senior Centre Design Process

Essi Oikarinen

Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo

We asked the Director of the Myllypuro Senior Centre how the everyday life has settled in the repurposed building.

Mari Sairanen, Director of the Myllypuro Senior Centre

What were the most important objectives when planning for the Myllypuro Senior Centre was launched?

The most important aspect was for the building to support the residents’ normal life and autonomy. In a 24-hour service housing unit such as ours, we want the residents to be able to participate in, for example, kitchen chores and to use the bathroom independently. All of our residents use mobility aids, so it is important that the environment is barrier-free and there is enough room to get around.

What kind of feedback have you received from your residents? 

Our residents have quite severe memory disorders, but they have given us some feedback. The sauna and balconies have been particularly well-received. Having one’s own room has also been important to the residents, but this tends to be the norm in 24-hour service housing these days, anyway. The colour scheme has also been admired. 

Some of the 1970s elements have been preserved in the building. What have you made of these?

I think it’s wonderful that some of the old has been allowed to live on – and I would say quite success successfully, too. Personally, I’m quite fond of the spiral staircase in the entrance foyer. 

Have you come across solutions that would require further development? 

The locking system has also proved to be difficult, as unlocking the doors requires holding the hand still. Some of our residents could go out independently, but they cannot open the doors. The sliding doors of the bathrooms in the resident rooms are also tricky. They are very typical in care homes, but they are challenging for people with memory disorders. A hinged door would, of course, take up a lot of space.

What is the best thing about the new senior centre?

The building is very bright, airy and spacious. I also like the ample use of wood surfaces. The great thing about the project was that user were involved in every design meeting, and our issues were always on the agenda. In retrospect, it is indeed important for users to invest time and familiarise themselves with details such as placement of socket outlets early on. It is too late by the time they start building. There must be people who understand what people with memory disorders are capable of doing and who, on the other hand, have the ideological vision of what kind of activity we want to support. ↙

More photos and drawings of the project →

Read Karita Rytivaara’s review on the Myllypuro senior centre →