Piirun oppimisympäristö - In English - History

The learning environment of Piiru



The Built Heritage Centre Piiru and its surroundings are an excellent place to visit for anyone who is interested in the maintenance and restoration of old houses and  the conservative repair construction. The association, Pirkanmaan rakennuskulttuuriyhdistys ry has renovated the former Timber Floater's House. The house was in a poor condition and about to be demolished. The association saved and refurbished it into a beautiful and functional house. The restoration took five years, 2012–2017. A waterborne heating system was installed in 2020. The association maintains the Built Heritage Centre Piiru. 
The history of Piiru: the time of timber floating
The house of Piiru is a part of Tampere's history of timber floating. The Timber Floater's House was built in 1892. The house was a residence for the foremen of Kokemäenjoki Timber Floating Company as well as a base for the timber floaters. Near the house is the Red Log Route where the logs were pulled up the Pispalanharju hill from Näsijärvi and slipped down to Pyhäjärvi. 
The Timber Floater's House was enlarged in the 1920's. As a part of the enlargement Kissala, the eastern part of the house, was built and the attic was converted into residential use. The timber floating era ended in the 1960s.  
From residential use to condemnation
The house was owned by a private owner and it was in residential use until the early 2000s when the owner's rental contract expired. A private construction company wanted to demolish the old building and build a new one on the plot.   
Local associations started to advocate for the Timber Floater's House to be protected. As a result of this The Finnish Heritage Agency and The Ministry of the Environment urged Tampere to protect Pispala (and the Timber Floater's House as a part of the neighbourhood) by a building plan. As of 2006 the building plan of Pispala was renewed.
In the early 2000s the house was deserted. By the time of 2010s there were big holes on the roof. Many were concerned that the structures of the house would get wet and the house would rot because of the roof leaks.  
After a long process of complaints and further clarifications the city of Tampere exproriated the plot. In 2012 the plot and the house was rented out to the association, Pirkanmaan rakennuskulttuuriyhdistys ry, for 30 years with an obligation to refurbish the house. 
The refurbishment of the Timber Floater's House 2012–2017 
August 2012 the project started. The aim of the project was to refurbish the bearing structures of the building and the siding and to shape the courtyard so that water won't run into the structures of the house. The Timber Floater's House was also planned to become a built heritage centre. 
The main principle of the restoration was conservative repair. The materials were chosen so that they could be repaired over and over again. The working methods were chosen with the same principle. The appearance or the interior does not represent any particular style or era. The layers of the constructional history was left to be seen and the repairments were made with as few changes as possible. 
The Built Heritage Centre Piiru
The refurbished house operates as the Built Heritage Centre Piiru. The association, Pirkanmaan rakennuskulttuuriyhdistys ry maintains Piiru. In Piiru you can find the learning environment of Piiru and a small scale spare parts bank. Piiru organises courses and lectures about conservative repair construction. Piiru is also used as a venue for events and parties. Every year there are about 1500 visitors in Piiru.