The Mysterious Green Heart of Oulu

Tuiranpuisto, a green park of 9,5 ha in the middle of Oulu, is a great place to go for a run or to walk your dog – activities lots of residents of Oulu do on a daily basis. But most of them don’t know what happened in the abandoned buildings that are all scattered throughout the park.

In the years 1880-1890 diseases as smallpox, measles and typhoid fever spread in Oulu. The people were afraid that cholera would spread to the city as well. At that moment there was just one hospital in the whole city, the Oulu County Hospital. In 1884 the city council decided a municipal hospital had to be built in Tuira. The hospital was finished by the designs of Magnus Schjerfbeck. The hospital contained multiple wooden buildings, which we now know as the dilapidated buildings that are in Tuiranpuisto.

The decision for the build of the hospital was made in 1884, however, the buildings were finished in the years 1900-1926. The area contained different kinds of medical buildings.

Some of the buildings have received another purpose. When you’re inside the buildings, not much can be found of their history. The only things that remained are the typical old, romantic heaters that still have much detail.

All of the buildings of Tuiranpuisto are protected and the area is part of the nationally significant built environment of the Oulujoki estuary. Even though, the old hospital area consisted of different buildings, there certainly is cohesion between the buildings: they can easily be recognised by their remarkable green or yellow colour.

The mental hospital is an example of the architectural ‘Art Nouveau’ style. The most important inspiration of the Art Nouveau style is nature, which can be seen in the details of the building.

Even though the park is beautiful, most of the buildings are abandoned. It can easily be seen from the outside which buildings are deserted and which are still in use. The buildings that are abandoned are not only dilapidated, but also the victims of vandalism. 

Nowadays the park is known for the beautiful nature. It is no coincidence there is that much vegetation in the former hospital area. When the area was built, they believed that nature helped with improving the mental health. In the summertime the park is filled with alpine roses, which is one of the characteristics of Tuiranpuisto nowadays.

The city of Oulu has been wondering what to do with the park and its buildings. But so far, no decision has been made.