There is a huge arched monument between the Porvoo motorway and Ring Road III, which makes motorists rub their eyes. More than half of the capital's electricity flows through this brilliant substation, even in the dark.

The Länsisalmi substation, built in 1994, was thoroughly renovated three years ago. The arch portal and the glass façade of the conversion station were designed in connection with the renovation, as the aim was to make the station look impressive.

The structure is illuminated at night.

Photo: Fingrid

The landmark, completed in 2017, rises to a maximum of 47 meters. It undoubtedly recalls the legendary Gateaway Arch in St. Louis, USA, designed by architect Eero Saarinen in the 1960s.

The arch in the shadow of the Porvoo motorway is the terminal portal of the Länsisalmi substation. In connection with it, there is also a façade of the conversion station made of glass, which is very exceptional for a similar structure.

The arch is made almost entirely of corten steel made from recycled material, which turns rusty in less than a year.

This is what Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch in St. Louis looks like.

Photo: Juha Peurala

According to Timo Kiiveri, Director of Asset Management at the grid company Fingrid, the substation was expected to look exceptional because it is very significant for Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. At the same time, the substation is located in a prominent position, at a traffic hub, passed by thousands of cars and pedestrians every day.

The arch in Vaarala, Vantaa, is like a “gate” to Vantaa. Just like the Gateaway Arch is a gateway to the west of the United States.

The Gateaway Arch was built to commemorate the land acquisition of Louisiana territory in 1803, which once doubled U.S. land. Similarly, the electricity conversion capacity of Länsisalmi doubled in 2017 with the reform.

“The Länsisalmi substation provides electricity for 800,000 people in the Helsinki metropolitan area. It has a lot of energy in one place, ”Kiiveri describes.

When a new 400-megawatt transformer was hurried to the new station, Ring Road III was then closed to other traffic. Transformers of this size weigh 300 tonnes and are the heaviest individual units transported on Finnish roads.

The arch was designed by architect Bratislav Toskovic from Parviainen Arkkitehdit Oy. According to the press release, his vision was influenced by the location of the substation in a visible place, at the corner of Ring Road Three and Porvoonväylä. One of the main goals of architectural design was to create an interesting and memorable landmark for the entire area.

Länsisalmi's position has received both domestic and international recognition for its appearance. The City of Vantaa awarded the implementation with the Ring Flower recognition in 2018. In the global architecture competition, the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam, the station was chosen as the best in the world in its own category.

Other eye-catching structures have also been built of Corten steel in Vantaa. Read more about them from the links below.

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