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Culture Silo


Culture Power Station aims to transform Meri-Toppila’s old silo building - previously owned by Toppila oy - into a developing community art center. The transformation will be implemented based on a cultural ecological plan with help from the local community and the people associated with the project. The plans for the repair and transformation have been drawn by architect Heikki Riitahuhta.

The Culture Silo’s reconstruction overlaps with the culture activities held in the building. The Culture Silo is a community art work created by a long-term, open and community-centered process.

The city of Oulu has granted Kulttuurivoimala – Culture Power Station the contract on the Toppila silo building. The contract has a precondition that the reserver provide a preliminary plan in 2009 and that the silo will be in use in September 2011.

View: Culture Silo's sound and light installation from 2009

View Heikki Riitahuhta's repair and transformation plans: Kulttuurisiilo - Käyttötarkoituksen muutos ja kulttuuriekologinen korjaussuunnitelma


  • Oy Toppila woodchip silo, completed in 1931 in Oulu, was the first industrial project designed by Alvar Aalto.

  • Woodchip silo was left empty after Kajaani Oy closed down the Toppila cellulose factory in 1985.
  • When the area was being rezoned as a housing area at the turn of the 1990s, key industrial buildings, including the woodchip silo, were marked as protected.
  • During 1995 – 2008 housing was planned in the silo. Lastly a religious association was planning a chapel in the silo. A plan for repair and transformation regarding the chapel was created by architecture students. Association withdrew from the project in 2007.
  • In 2009, Kulttuurivoimala – Culture Power Station ry began its own reconstruction plan to transform the silo into Culture Silo - a developing community art center.
  • Kulttuurivoimala was granted a contract on Culture Silo from beginning of 2010 to fulfill the project. In 2009 architecture student Heikki Riitahuhta drew up plans for the repairs and transformation.
  • In the beginning of 2010, Kulttuurivoimala started dismantling work on the silo in order to allow a more functional use of the space. Work has been done by pay subsidy employees and volunteers. Silos have been cleared of the woodchips, apart from silo number one, which is used to store the chips for use as soil on the grounds. Horizontal conveyor structural elements, a small brick room and silo three walkway have been removed from the building.
  • Silo has been renovated by creating square window panels, as they originally were, to all bottom floor windows, installing upper floor windows, installing a solar heater on the bottom floor wall, building a vestibule as well as a canopy on the upcoming main entrance. Attached to the wall of the engine room at the top of the silo is the wireless link for Kulttuurivoimala’s internet.
  • Kulttuurivoimala opening ceremony March 19, 2009. Local residents lit approximately 300 candles around the building and Michael Edgerton made a sound installation depicting the transformation of the building, it played throughout the ceremony. Media window at the end of the building showed photographs of the history of the cellulose factory.
  • After its opening, Culture Silo has held Pulurock –concerts for two years 2014 – 2015, Silo’s Open Day –event 2014 – 2017, Youth Art Days 2015. Additionally, Silo has held seminars, art exhibits, concerts and various sound experiments. Events organized by interested parties have been held sporadically.
  • Since 2016, Antti Maasalo's kinetic sun, wind and light works on display in the Culture Silo yard.