The doctoral dissertations of the former Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and Aalto University Schools of Technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG, SCI) published in electronic format are available in the electronic publications archive of Aalto University - Aaltodoc.

Old Paukku in Lapua – Re-Built and Re-Spoken. Discursive Formation of Cultural Heritage in a Case Study

Helena Teräväinen

Dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology to be presented with due permission of the Department of Architecture for public examination and debate in Auditorium E at Helsinki University of Technology (Espoo, Finland) on the 16th of September, 2006, at 12 noon.

Dissertation in PDF format (ISBN 951-22-8361-1)   [3839 KB]
Dissertation is also available in print (ISBN 951-22-8360-3)

Note: The language of the dissertation is Finnish.


The research subject is the case of Old Paukku (Paukku=Explosive Charge; 1993–) in the town of Lapua, Finland. In 1992 Lapua acquired the area of the former State Cartridge Factory, which was located in the middle of the town. During the next decade the old industrial buildings went through great changes, and they were renovated for new uses. The area of the cartridge factory was transformed constructionally into the Cultural Centre 'Old Paukku', but changes were also perceived discursively in human speech and new attributed meanings. The case offered an interesting and unique theme, and the author herself carried some co-players' knowledge; she had been involved in the project at the time she held office as the City Architect and Planner. The history of Old Paukku is connected with many remarkable events and it plays a significant part in the history of independent Finland, political as well as architectural.

The aim has been to produce intensive and detailed knowledge of the research case, which has been described from different standpoints. The research was not meant to produce any generally valid model, but the research hopefully deeps the conceptual knowledge of the cultural heritage and increases the understanding to it in different directions.

The research questions concentrate on how the cultural heritage (in built environment) appeared in discussions concerning the case of Old Paukku, and how the meanings appeared, changed and struggled during the process. The case study sheds light on the position of the cultural heritage in municipal planning and decision-making processes.

The research method used has been discursive analysis, and other actors have been interviewed. Also the planning and decision-making documents, reports and newspaper articles (through which the researcher is reflecting her own actions) and a lot of photographical material (pictures from the time the factory was built in 1910's until today) have acted as source material for the research. The Old Paukku project's first decision-making phase was characterized by strong conflicts between private enterprise and cultural factions (Enterprise Model versus Culture Model). Before the actual theme interviews, a larger survey was conducted, in order to make sure that the discourses had many possibilities to come to light.

In the theoretical research framework culture is the network of currents in which meanings and discourses are arising, moving and periodically establishing their own position. Here appears the cultural turn of planning research, it is changing over to a Foucauldian-style discourse and power analytics. The level of discourses is rapidly developing in terms of place experience, historical meaning and the place of memory. Equally important have become the narratives of other actors in the process, the change in municipal planning, strategies and the meaning of the process in planning.

Old Paukku has become conceptually a "cultural environment" little by little through human speech when discussions centering around the history of the place, the collective memory and the new experiences gained combined together in the experienced process. The planning process of Old Paukku also created an open the forum (a place), where, in addition to the re-use of the old factory, other issues could also be dealt with. The process discourse is described with the sentence: "Where did they learn those models?" and it refers to changing power relationships: When before the actors in the field were mainly politicians and municipal officials, now within the process are also active cultural and citizen organizations. The place discourse is named with the sentence: "Now we have this kind of place.", and it contains not only the idea of the past and memories, but also issues relating to current identity and the cultural centre usage by people. When the base-camp of knowledge-power was changed, and because "the cultural heritage" developed from an "improper" direction (i.e. eminating from the citizens themselves and from central government agencies), it seems that neither a real mutual understanding of cultural heritage nor the significance of Old Paukku as cultural heritage has yet come into existence during the case study.

There has been considerable impact both within the case study and the discourses arising out of it, from the so-called official ongoing discussion of the concept "cultural heritage" within the built environment, which is used in environmental administration and also in municipal planning. This research work aims hopefully to increase understanding by joining the concept "cultural heritage" and its formulation discursively and locally, leading to a situation in which the experience of place and process would gain in significance.

For town planning and town politics the significance of this research means not only the power of narrative and example, but surely also the value of places and the events joined which people remember together, in other words, the collective memory.

Keywords: discourse analysis, case study research, collective memory, culture, cultural heritage, Foucault, hermeneutics, identity, image, meaning-giving, memory, place, power analytics, process

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© 2006 Helsinki University of Technology

Last update 2011-05-26