The most charming buildings of Varjakansaari

Varjakansaari is an abandoned island near the village of Varjakka in Northern Ostrobothnia. The island is known for being an important sawmill society. The area is one of the best-preserved communities in Finland.  

From 1900 to 1928, the island operated the largest steam sawmill of the Nordic countries, with a maximum of about 700 employees. The sawmill was destroyed by fire in 1919, it was successfully rebuilt. However, the breakage of the sawmills main shaft in 1928 ended the entire life of the sawmill. 

In addition to the sawmill, there was a total of fourteen buildings on the island. The most stunning and well known are the office building and the fire station. 

The office building

Varjakka Islands office building and warehouse were designed by the former County Architect of Oulu, Harald Andersin. Buildings were constructed using the vertical log method, which was popular in 1920s and they represent classism of the same decade.  

The two-story, red-painted office building was renovated in 1990s by the plans of architect Helena Hirviniemi 

The main aspects of the building have survived and so have many of its original details. The windows, doors, ovens, staircase with its railings and the corner boards are original.  

Since the end of operations, art exhibitions have been held in the office building. 


Fire station

The fire station of Varjakansaari was also designed by Andersin.  The main aspects of the fire station are the high hose tower and the wide double doors on the main façade.  The building has been preserved almost in its original appearance, including windows, doors and corner boards. The towers were built high for fire control and drying of fire hoses. The cotton hoses had to be air-dried to prevent mold.