A former shoe factory meets modern learning facility with style

A shoe factory built more than a hundred years ago was recently renovated to become teaching facilities for Lyseo’s upper secondary school in Hämeenlinna. A good acoustic environment was ensured in the renovated brick building through the use of Ecophon Focus™, Solo™ and Industry™ RTP acoustic panels.

Lyseo school moved into a locally well-known factory building at the former Keinusaari Verkatehdas fabric factory, in the eastern corner of the red brick industrial complex, in October 2021. The comprehensive renovations to implement modern learning facilities began in early spring 2020 within the protected building, which is of great value from architectural, cultural historical, and cityscape perspectives.

The building, completed in 1910 as a leather and shoe factory owned by J.F. Alanko, was extended and enhanced in a number of phases in the 1930s, 1960s and 1980s. During the last renovations in the ‘80s, the building was adapted to become the ARX Building, a cultural centre for children and young people, featuring, amongst other elements, facilities for visual arts education, a mini theatre, and the offices of Hämeenlinna City Theatre.

Lyseo school

The building, completed in 1910 as a leather and shoe factory owned by J.F. Alanko, was extended and enhanced in a number of phases in the 1930s, 1960s and 1980s.

Good acoustics bring additional aesthetic value

At Lyseo school, a historic factory environment meets modern learning facilities with style. In the building’s stairwells, the Ecophon Industry™ RTP perforated sheet metal panels immediately attract the eye, their metallic lustre complementing the industrial look of the red brick wall and black railings along the stairs.

“At this site we tried to retain the sense of originality and the industrial rough edge, which is why the original brick surfaces and structures were left visible. The Industry RTP panels serve as a visual element, as well as being able to withstand the rough treatment that is part and parcel of school life – floorball sticks and ski poles will be no match for these panels,” states Architect Asko Kaipainen of Ajan Architects, who designed the site.

Ecophon Industry™ RTP

In the stairwells, the metallic lustre of the Ecophon Industry™ RTP perforated sheet metal panels complements the industrial look of the red brick wall.

Ecophon Industry™ RTP

The Industry RTP panels serve as a visual element, as well as being able to withstand the knocks and blows of school life.

Ecophon Industry™ RTP

The visible surface of the impact-resistant Industry RTP panel is unpainted, galvanised perforated sheet metal, which tops black glass tissue.

When it comes to the exceptionally impressive ceiling in the lobby, the appearance was achieved with Ecophon Solo™ Baffle acoustic panels in a variety of colours.

“Here, we wanted something fun and colourful to accompany the original factory building’s red brick wall and polished concrete floor. The size, positioning and colours of the suspended acoustic panels were varied to achieve a vibrant end result, with the look continuing into the main stairwell. The lobby is the central point of the routes through the building, so the aim was to put particular emphasis there,” explains Kaipainen.

Ecophon Solo Baffle

The lockers in the lobby feature sockets for charging phones and other smart devices. Students’ and teachers’ wishes were taken into account in the planning of the site.

Ecophon Solo Baffle

The impressive appearance of the lobby is the result of using Ecophon Solo™ Baffle suspended panels in a range of sizes and in the shades White frost, Dark diamond, Golden field and Sunset heat.

Suspended panels solve an acoustics challenge

The vertically suspended Solo Baffle panels fulfil the requirements set for the acoustic environment and make the space aesthetically unique.

“The design guidance presented us with something of a challenge, stating that the spaces should feature sound-absorbing materials with a surface area equal to 110% of the floor area, with the building technology elements remaining visible. Textile panels were out of the question, as were any insulating materials affixed to the outer walls,” explains Construction Engineer Janne Sippola of Rakennustoimisto Taitoneliö Oy, which served as the contractor with overall responsibility for the renovation project.

Some of the panels were standard size panels measuring 1200x600 mm, while others were half-size panels at 600x600 mm.

“The Solo range is suitable for sites where the client does not want to compromise on the spaciousness of the room, or where a wall-to-wall ceiling is not feasible. At this site, they were used to help us achieve a surface area providing sufficient sound absorption. The wide range of colours available made for an impressive overall look that the end users enjoy,” states Sippola.

Ecophon Solo Baffle

Some of the Solo Baffle suspended panels were standard size panels measuring 1200x600 mm, while others were half-size panels at 600x600 mm.

Ecophon Solo Baffle

The Solo panels left over from the lobby were used on classroom walls to absorb sound there.

Smooth cooperation with designers and product manufacturers

Following its launch in January 2020, the project featured close dialogue between the contractor, designer and building materials providers right from the start.

“We make sure to involve the material suppliers and contractors early on, from the planning stage, so that we can make full use of all their expertise and professional skills before the construction work itself starts. This allows us to avoid conflicts at the design realisation stage, and results in a successful project,” says Sippola.

Ecophon Focus A

Building technology elements are visible in the classrooms. Ecophon Focus™ A panels were used in the ceiling.

Ecophon Focus A

The colourful curtains and furniture provide a striking contrast to the white Focus A ceiling panels.

food technology classroom

The food technology classrooms were designed in collaboration with the future users of the rooms.

Ecophon Area Sales Manager for Southern Finland Johanna Mäki was involved in the project from the very start.

“When we’re working on the project right from the get-go, we can help with the designs, provide suggestions for suitable options, and establish the best way to realise the designs. To support the planning work, we have a broad range of colours, sample pieces of products, and all kinds of additional information about the technical features and environmental impacts of our products. Lyseo school in Hämeenlinna is a fantastic site and a wonderful example of functional cooperation between designer, contractor and product manufacturer,” states Mäki.

Solo Baffle

The staff room also features suspended Solo Baffle panels to promote good acoustics.

Solo Baffle

The lobby theme continues in a more muted, white version in the staff room.


Photos: Studio Juha Sarkkinen

Lyseo upper secondary school

  • Location: Hämeenlinna, Finland
  • Number of students: approx. 460
  • Architect: Ajan Architects
  • Contractor: Rakennustoimisto Taitoneliö Oy
  • Renovations completed: 2021