the story of the building
The centre of Oulu town was destroyed in a massive fire in 1882. The same spark that set the town on fire ignited Sea Captain Johan Fredrik Petrell’s idea of building a private house near the seaside. Consequently, the construction of Petrell’s own palace was completed two years later. Today the building is known as Uusi Seurahuone.
The roots of Uusi Seurahuone
Uusi Seurahuone is a neo-renaissance building designed by Oulu-born architect Hugo Neuman. The building was owned by Consul Pentzin and then by Judge Lundberg before being transferred under the ownership of Teräs Ltd. hardware store company in 1902. Many older Oulu people still remember the building as the Teräs Building.
The era of the architects
Teräs Ltd. owned the building for nearly 80 years. The Oulu City Board decided on the preservation of the building just a few years before it was sold to construction company Insinöörityö in the early 1980’s. Before the new owner was even disclosed, the University of Oulu Department of Architecture had expressed the willingness to rent the building for academic use. The department’s wish was granted. Soon the street level of the building housed a library and exhibition rooms, while the second floor contained a lecture room, a seminar room and laboratory work spaces.
New winds blow
The building had thus seen many walks of life before a new, noteworthy page in its history was turned in 1999 with another ownership change: Head Invest Ltd. began extensive renovation and restoration work on the premises. Uusi Seurahuone welcomed its first guests in 2001. Since the autumn of 2010, the host of Uusi Seurahuone has been restaurateur Tommi Tuhkanen.