Maritime Centre Vellamo is home to the Maritime Museum of Finland, the Museum of Kymenlaakso, Information Centre Vellamo and the Kotka Cultural Centre. In addition to this, the building holds classrooms, seminar rooms, a 200-seat auditorium, Restaurant Laakonki with 100 seats, and Museum Shop Plootu. Maritime Centre Vellamo was opened to the public on 11 July 2008. It was designed by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects with architect and professor Ilmari Lahdelma as the main designer.
The facade of Maritime Centre Vellamo, which resembles a massive wave, consists of sheet metal cassettes, silk-screened glass panels and aluminium grids. The sheet metal cassettes reflect the blue, green and grey shades of the sea. The glass panels feature pictures of the crew of the steel barque Favell (1912) and the masts of the merchant fleet of Lavansaari Island (1914). As darkness falls, lights are lit behind the glass panels.
An essential element of the interior is oak, which has been used in the ceilings, walls and floors. The colours of Vellamo – lime, orange, deep blue and dark grey – and the pictures and graphical elements recur throughout the building. The walls, restaurant chairs and shop items all feature members of the Favell crew, load line marks, call signs and owner’s marks from Seskar Island.
Maritime Centre Vellamo has won numerous travel and construction awards, including steel structure of the year, top domestic travel destination of the year and best lit location of the year in the category for exterior lighting. Vellamo also won the Finnish championships for municipal marketing in the travel category and received a commendation for significant efforts to promote accessibility.
The roof stage commands an expansive view of the city and sea. At a single glance, you can see the factories with their impressive chimneys, the high-voltage lines, the light masts and the ships, trains and trucks transporting goods to and from the ports. The roof structure resembling a breaking crest of a wave provides a sheltered space for concert-goers and picnickers, as well as people simply wishing to enjoy the scenery.
The total area of the building is 14,366 m², the floor area is 12,652 m² and the volume is 118,000 m³. The museums have 4,600 m² of exhibition space, 350 m² of which is held by the Coast Guard Museum. Information Centre Vellamo’s 500 m² contain around 20,000 books and 3,500 volumes of newspapers and magazines.
The building has 1,960,000 kg of steel structures, its total length is 300 metres and its highest point is 30 metres above ground level. The facade and roof stage feature 7,400 m² of steel cladding, 860 screen-printed glass plates and 76,500 kg of aluminium grid. The interior boasts 6,000 m² of cladding made of oak plywood and 2,400 m² of oak parquet.