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Standing out from the crowd - The maritime centre Vellamo

24.08.2009 12:15

The Maritime Centre Vellamo in Kotka, Finland, is a breathtaking architectural accomplishment and a unique building that houses the Maritime Museum of Finland, the Kymenlaakso Museum, and the Maritime Centre Vellamo.

Vellamo - Boat
The motor patrol boat “Vemma” was restored
to its original colour scheme.
The Vellamo steel frame structure is interesting as it does not contain any right-angled corners. In all, three million kilograms of steel have been used in the frame and supporting structures. The three soaring exhibition galleries in the middle of the building are supported by 19-metre steel pillars.


Vellamo is both a significant and challenging project from Tikkurila’s point of view. Tikkurila paint products were chosen to protect its steel structures from weathering and corrosion, for application to interior surface areas, and for restoring old vessels. Visitors to Vellamo are attracted by its vibrant blaze of colour, even before entering the building.


Vellamo’s nautical architecture


The Maritime Centre Vellamo has been designed by Architects Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Oy, with Professor Ilmari Lahdelma acting as the principal architect.  Their winning entry in the architectural design competition was entitled “Hyöky” (Tidal wave).


The work was appraised as follows. “The building rises up from its foundations like a giant wave that climaxes into a foam-crested breaker at the quay end. The immense volume of this massive structure overshadows even the scale of the port facilities. Its purpose is not to blend in, but rather to stand out as a landmark.”



A blaze of colour with Tikkurila coatings and paint


The Vellamo building’s architecture design differs from anything seen previously, and the possibilities offered by its materials, colours and light has been utilized in an exceptionally striking manner.


Vellamo - View from outside
The Finnish Constructional Steelwork
Association (FCSA) chose the Maritime
Centre Vellamo as
Steel Structure of the Year
in Finland in 2008.
The dominant lime green tones of the main entrance catch the visitor‘s eye even before entering, and harmonize beautifully with the blue, green and grey shades of the metal cassettes. Black has been used liberally inside the exhibition galleries and provides a neutral background for the interesting objects on display.


The complex forms of Vellamo’s steel frame and pillars were coated with alkyd system TA31. The selected primer was Tikkurila Temaprime EUR, with Temalac FD 50 for the topcoat.


The “Hyöky” steel construction located above the wave-like building acts as both its landmark and the roof of the forum area.


After priming with Temacoat GPL-S Epoxy Primer containing zinc phosphate, the “Hyöky” construction was coated with the marine climate-resistant TP49 (EPZn(R)EPPUR200/3-FeSa2½) polyurethane system. With its excellent weather resistance, semi-gloss Temadur 50 acryl polyurethane paint was used to create the silver-grey surface of the construction.


Vellamo’s largest exhibits are on display in the Maritime Museum of Finland. They include the motor patrol boat VWV 11 known as “Vemma”, which was restored by Red Sky Oy, a Kotka wooden boat-building yard, using traditional Tikkurila Temalac alkyd paints for the woodworking industry. Original samples helped to determine the correct colour shades for restoration.


Maalaus Peuhkuri Oy was responsible for the construction painting work at Vellamo. Foreman Matti Kasanen found the project interesting and was pleased with the colourful results. Various Tikkurila construction paints were applied to the interior walls, such as “Ässäplast” products and “Luja” topcoat.

Vellamo hallway
Vellamo’s fascinating world of colour
An interesting place to visit

The role of the Maritime Museum of Finland is to preserve and interpret the history of Finnish seafaring, the everyday life of seafarers, and the development of ships. The Kymenlaakso Museum presents the cultural heritage of Kotka and the whole Kymi river valley region.


A forum area is located on the roof of the Maritime Centre Vellamo, which is planned to be the new town square of Kotka. Vellamo is an ideal destination for a day out with the whole family. Immerse yourself in the tales of the Maritime Museum with the help of its interactive facilities. Learn about seafaring’s past and present in the main exhibition, and explore the depths of the oceans.


The Maritime Centre Vellamo is like a seafaring tale that you will want to read over and over again!





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