50 years for the better student living!

How has student living changed in five decades? Travel through our history!


Founding of VOAS

The Student Housing Foundation of Vaasa was founded on April 21st, 1972.


VOAS works on behalf of the students

This is where it all began!

The first VOAS houses were built in Palosaari in 1973. Green and idyllic VOAS I offered students space and an opportunity to live by the general standards. VOAS I consisted of two-story row houses, and the apartments are still a good fit for families and friends living together.


Villitys represented the typical student living of the time – with modern conveniences. Dormitory-style Villitys offered student a furnished room shared with another student and spacious, well-equipped communal spaces. Villitys enhanced the living standards of students in Vaasa remarkably.

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Constructing new houses with variety of apartment types

In the second decade of VOAS new houses were built, and VOAS could accommodate an increasing number of students. The new apartments varied in standards and sizes.

An important goal of the decade was to decentralise student housing. By the end of 1980s VOAS could accommodate 2200 students in over 1000 apartments.



The sixth VOAS house followed the foundation’s principles: it was not going to be that huge mass marked in the city plan, but a humane sized house that reminded a row house.

The house was planned by the architect office Schutz & Slotte. There were family apartments on the first floor and a detached sauna department.

The specialty in VOAS VI was a heat recovery system that recovered the heat from the apartment extract air and recycled it back to the apartments. This was energy efficient and convenient for the residents because there was no draft in the apartments.

Now after a complete renovation VOAS VI is known as Siksak. Siksak is a clean air house in which pets are not allowed. There are single and shared apartments in Siksak.


The wild 80s

Working for student living included activities! Read the story of VOAS personnel trip to Rovaniemi!

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The wild 80s


Centralising the student apartments

Student unions, the city of Vaasa and VOAS decided that student living in Vaasa will be concentrated to VOAS. As a result of the contract, VOAS got ownership of certain old estates and the apartment offering expanded notably.

Great services!

In addition to renting apartments, all kinds of side-line activities were a big part of VOAS in the past. Hostel Tekla and restaurant All Stars served students, tourists, and locals in Vaasa.

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Great services!


Students want to live in the city centre

Good location and living near the city centre were valued qualities in student living in the 1990s. Students appreciated privacy and space as well.

Increased number of apartments met the growing number of students: in the end of the 1990s there were almost 10 000 students in Vaasa and 70 % of the students in need of an apartment received one immediately.

In the beginning of the decade VOAS could accommodate 3000 residents and in the end of it 3600 residents. The number of apartments grew from 1400 to 2000.

VOAS grew also in other fields: the foundation owned three restaurants entirely or partially, and the hotel began working around the year.

Plants are on the house

How the times have changed! The personnel magazine reported the problems of one house in such a light way. The residents of VOAS VI had noticed a little issue on the building structures: the weeds from the yard had started growing through the walls inside the building.

Now the building has been completely renovated and turned into a clean air house known today as Siksak.

Olympia – the largest VOAS real estate

Olympia is a significant student centre in the edge of Vöyrinkaupunki. The first house of Olympia raised to its height in 1993, and the whole construction process took three years. Olympia represented a new style and a new housing culture, which made it more likely for residents to meet each other.

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Olympia – the largest VOAS real estate

Living in VOAS

What was it like to live in a VOAS apartment in the 1990s? Read our tenant’s story from the VOAS’ 1994 info magazine!

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Living in VOAS

Creativity and communality

Imagination and creativity in work are the powers that keep the flame on. Tarja Jokinen writes about the strength of play in the VOAS personnel magazine in 1994.

Jokinen was inspired by city planning after hearing Roger Wingren’s, the city planning architect of Pietarsaari, thoughts on play in designing.

Jokinen points out that the young residents of VOAS are a strength, and it is an opportunity to include them in planning. The residents’ resources can be utilised, for example, by forming resident councils which had already been an essential part of the VOAS activity. She expressed that informal discussions and cooperation with the residents were fruitful ways to involve students in planning districts and the houses.

“Young people often feel unable to impact on their housing and environment, and the decisions may seem like coming from a faceless institution.”

Jokinen predicted that the importance of responsibility of the environment and fellow people will grow in the future and adds: “These thoughts may sound naïve and utopistic, but we have been on the moon, right?”

Now, after almost three decades one could say that Jokinen was ahead of her time. Her thoughts were not naïve and utopistic – in fact they are an essential part of VOAS values.


Back to basics

The new millennia started with a tightly disciplined budget. The foundation focused on its core function: construction and renting of apartments. Other functions were discarded. Restaurant All Starts and Hotel Tekla were given up. Thus, the economy was strengthening.

“Cut off extra, it is the students who pay the costs,” said the Director of that time, Bertel Bäck. VOAS started to reach its goal: to offer economical student living.

Construction focused on extensive renovations. Shared apartments were transformed into wanted single apartments. The old apartments were turned into 250 single apartments.

VOAS invested in houses on central locations and sold some of the houses that were further away from the campus. VOAS apartments utilisation rate increased, and it raised income. More income meant greater investment in renovations and the ability to keep the rents low.


Looking into the future

The most important goal of the new millennia was to develop the houses and apartments to meet the students’ needs in the long-term. Distant houses were sold, and shared apartments were transformed into more diverse homes.

The time spans in student living are long. Jorma Vehkaperä, the VOAS CEO of the time, stated: “The quarter in student living is never just three months but twenty-five years.” Because of this mindset it is VOAS’s strength to provide apartments that really meet the students’ needs.

Thinking about future students, the maintenance, especially in the older houses is important. Investing in maintenance secures the living standards and economical housing of the future students. VOAS committed also to energy efficiency and saving water – these were advanced by student targeted campaigns and energy efficient technology in buildings.

Internet pioneer

VOAS offered its residents access to the Internet already in the year 2000. The opportunities to study online were enhanced. Applying for apartments had been possible in real-time digitally around the year already from the 1990s!



Travel in time

The first VOAS website worked in 1999–2012. The website opened in October 1999 and served for 13 years without much change. The website can be found on the Internet archive Wayback Machine.

Browse the website!


Vaasa is a great place to study

Vaasa was already known to be a good place to study in the 2010s. VOAS apartments’ utilisation rate was near 100 % and all students coming to Vaasa got an apartment.

The students demanded quality of living and VOAS answered to that by increasing the number of single apartments and making it possible to have more options in housing. VOAS also supported communality among residents by diverse tenant activities.


The new strategy is customer oriented and highlights responsibility

The VOAS strategy for 2011–2015 was strongly in line with the work of the previous decades. VOAS is customer oriented – applying for an apartment was made easy and possible in real time. VOAS is eager to innovate, its open-mindedness is visible in answering the students’ hopes and needs.

Customer oriented thinking shows in the apartment development and maintenance. The future students and the responsibility of the environment have always been on mind.

VOAS is known to be a secure landlord. The idea of economical housing is based on that the interest of the foundation is always the best interest of a student too.



The new website


The website was modernised in October 2012, and it looked like this: Voas.fi 2012


Loftis project

The old Loftis was demolished in the summer 2015. The new house was ready in the autumn 2016.

The old Loftis in Vöyrinkaupunki was supposed to be renovated but building a new one turned out to be more economical. The new house has 70 apartments on five floors, 60 single apartments and 10 two-room apartments. The house has a sauna, laundry and Internet-connection included in rent.

“We are really happy that we can offer more single apartments since there is permanent shortage of them.”

You can find pictures and information of the Loftis project on VOAS’ old website!


Residential satisfaction, well-being, and sustainability

In the year 2020 VOAS had 2232 residents, 1685 apartments and could accommodate 2685 residents. The single apartments are still popular. Residential satisfaction is everything: the housing solutions are focused on well-being and sustainability. Neighbourhood communities, recycling spots and quality communal spaces have been developed in cooperation with the residents.

The students are ahead of their time in many ways. It is a privilege to offer homes to people who have just started to live independently. The foundation’s responsibility and joy are to offer housing that measures the quality of living in the future. The work also impacts on what the students expect of their housing solutions in the future.


Renewing and digitalising systems

The strategy for 2020–2022 emphasizes change. The foundation’s processes were developed from traditional to digital. The global pandemic sped up and made the need and necessity of change clear.

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Renewing and digitalising systems

The Coronavirus pandemic

The pandemic restricted meetings and had an impact on the everyday life of the tenants and the staff.

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The Coronavirus pandemic

Successful respond to the pandemic required new ways of serving customers

The professional VOAS staff managed to navigate in the middle of reforms with excellent teamwork. They served the tenants successfully, flexibly, and exceptionally well despite the long abnormal state.

The year of celebration

In the 2022 VOAS celebrates its 50th year together with residents, personnel, and stakeholders. Thank you for everyone working with us for the better student living!

Where we are now

Offering homes for students is a joy to us! Half a century of experience gives confidence for the future. Open-mindedness and regeneration keep our finger on the pulse. What is it like to study and live in the future?