Extensive renovation of the main building at the Saari Residence

The main building of the Saari Residence for artists and researchers, maintained by Kone Foundation, will be renovated due to problems with the indoor air discovered during basement repairs. Built in 1779, the main building of the Saari Manor in Mietoinen, Mynämäki has served as the office and event venue of the Saari Residence for artists since 2008.
Photo: Otto-Ville Väätäinen / Kone Foundation

The medieval basement of the main building has been under restoration since 2015 due to the water and moisture that finds its way into the basement, along with some other problems. The basement renovation has involved dismantling the basement floor and installing subsurface drains, heating, ventilation and a new brick floor. The observations made during the repairs and a condition survey have shown that the building has, among other things, inadequate natural gravity ventilation, air leakages in its structures and some microbial damage here and there in the intermediate floor between the basement and the first floor.

 

Indoor air problem discovered during basement renovation

Due to the problems discovered with the indoor air, the Foundation has established an Indoor Air Team consisting of staff members and external experts from different fields. In accordance with the proposals for action made by experts at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, a survey of the exposure conditions has been carried out in the main building in order to assess their health effects on the basis of previous surveys and new additional ones. According to the survey, it is unlikely that microbial impurities have found their way into the indoor air. However, the damaged intermediate floor requires comprehensive repairs.

At its meeting on 24 April, Kone Foundation’s Board of Trustees decided to start the renovation of Saari Residence. The purpose of the renovation is to improve the building’s indoor air. The building’s ventilation will be renewed, the microbial damage in the floor and the old fungal decay of the walls will be repaired, and unhealthy gaseous substances will be prevented from entering the interior. The damaged materials of the intermediate floor will be removed and a new floor will be built on the first floor of the main building. In addition, the renovation will involve improving the building’s functionality and accessibility and constructing storage facilities and personnel rooms for employees.

The renovation will take a couple of years

The renovation schedule will be confirmed in the summer of 2020. Preliminary estimates suggest that it will take about two years. The Saari Manor is a site protected by the Finnish Heritage Agency, and the renovation will be carried out showing care and respect for the old structures and in accordance with protection regulations.

“At Kone Foundation, we are committed to ensuring that the Saari Residence’s architecturally and culturally important main building will remain in good shape and will survive to serve future generations too. The renovation will be extensive, but we will continue our residence activities and will focus on providing the best possible working conditions for artists and researchers at the Saari Residence,” says Leena Kela, Executive Director at the Saari Residence.

The renovation of the main building has been started with a survey of the situation. The Saari Residence office has been moved to the old stone barn, which will cause minor changes also to the workspaces of artists and researchers working at the residence.

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