Kalevan Navetta Art and Culture centre
Street name: Nyykoolinkatu 25
City: Seinäjoki (60100)
Taito Shop Seinäjoki and Seinäjoki Art Hall
Restaurant Äärellä Kuppi+Kattila
Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm
Brunch Sat 9.30am-3pm
The history of Kalevan Navetta
Kalevan Navetta has its roots in the history of the Östermyra country house (nowadays called Törnävän kartano). Östermyra was run by the Wasastjerna family, that is considered as one of the key figures of the history of Seinäjoki City. Back in the days, Östermyra produced iron, gun powder and butter.
In 1890, Östermyra was bankrupt and the estate was purchased by its biggest creditor: the insurance company Kaleva Ltd. For a while Kaleva Ltd was engaged in the agriculture business insomuch that it constructed a vast cowshed (’navetta’) in the Nyykoolinmäki (nowadays Itikanmäki). However, the company renounced the state and agriculture after 7 years. The slightly unfinished barn was left mainly unused for years. Yet the initial plan labelled the building. The only time Kalevan Navetta functioned as a barn, was in 1905 during the two day agricultural fair that was organised in the area.
In 1909, the building was sold forward to Hugo Grönlund who reconstructed it to a baize factory. Grönlund constructed a 23 metres wide and 70 metres long factory in the ground level floor. The south end of the building held a 88- horsepower engine that powered the factory. The factor employed up to 135 people. The factory wove baize and frieze, mainly woolly blankets, until the late 1920’s depression caused the factory closing.
In 1933, the Seinäjoki Military District Staff moved to the old factory facilities. The old factory building was mainly used as a warehouse. During the war times Kalevan Navetta served the civil guard. The new main road 67 was build in the late 1960s resulting the demolition of some district staff’s buildings in the area. As the administration of the district staff moved to new premises in 1968, Kalevan Navetta remained as the army warehouse until 1992, after which the ground floor was rented out for an agricultural trade/shop.
In 1915, the meat company Itikka (later know as Atria) decided to turn a sauna into a sausage-making facility. This sauna was located in Itikanmäki a stone’s throw from Kalevan Navetta. During the following years, the meat company premises grew from a tiny sauna into a vast factory area filling the entire plot. Itikanmäki was in fact considered as the centre of Seinäjoki City back in the days. The area had stores, banks and the famous Välipala -restaurant. In the early 1960s, the meat company production facilities at idyllic Itikanmäki became crambed, which eventually lead to building new premises outside the city centre. The kick off for re-designing the city plan of the Itikanmäki neighborhood took place in early 2000, after most of the old food production facilities of the meat and food company Atria were already empty.
In 2011, the city plan of the area was re-designed and validated allowing the old Industrial areas to be used for residential buildings and offices premises. The zone provision marks that the facades of the Kalevan Navetta building must be preserved, and the unique features of the area’s landscape protected. The detailed facades, the roof, original windows and doorways must be retained, original materials (or similar) used in the renovation of the building, any changes concerning the facades and indoors are being confirmed by the museum authorities. The demolition of the old factory area next to Kalevan Navetta started in 2012. The last of the seven apartment buildings constructed by Peab Ltd was finished Spring 2019. The block now contains 294 apartments that house app. 500 people. The old army officer’s house is also a listed building and was recently renovated into apartments.
In 2018, entrepreneur Petri Pihlajaniemi, who has prior experience with renovated old buildings, bought the Kalevan Navetta that was then re-designed and planned as an art centre and event venue. The new Kalevan Navetta will provide home for several art, craft and culture organizations such as Seinäjoki City Culture services; culture office, Seinäjoki Art Hall and children’s cultural center Louhimo, University of the Arts Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy Seinäjoki office, Äärellä Kuppi+Kattila restaurant, Taito South Ostrobothnia; Taito Shop Seinäjoki (Rustoopuori) and crafts and design school Näppi, Seinäjoki artists’ association’s art rental shop, and Seinäjoki adult education center’s wood and metal workshops. Furthermore, Kalevan Navetta has an event venue Hugo, named after the baize factory founder Hugo Grönlund. The Hugo venue offers a spectacular setting for concerts, dinners and seminars.