Civic Identity

All societies need buildings that are symbols of communal endeavour and shared values.

Peter Davey, Helin Workshop, 2011

Extension of the Finnish parliament building

By means of its design and materials, the extension combines the detached urban elements of its surroundings into a coherent unity. Layout editor Carl Henning of the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper wrote in his column (HS 14th November 2003): I am standing on the side of Mannerheimintie street, in front of the Paasikivi monument, in a dark, drizzly November night. My gaze shifts from the so called Hankkija building through the brightly lit site of the new extension of the Parliament Building to the Parliament Building itself and on to Kiasma… it is a handsome square that is forming here. Coherent, in the style of our millennium… The Parliament Building is finally becoming a part of the city. It no longer seems to jut out detached like Ceauşescu’s ghost palace, with a dishevelled railway yard as its only pedestal.

Health and Well-being Centre, Kalasatama

Resulting from the ongoing renewal process of social and health services, Finland’s health centres are currently developed into health and wellness centres based on an entirely new kind of operation model. The first new building compatible with this principle is the centre in the Kalasatama district in Helsinki. It was opened to the public at the beginning of February 2018. For the first time, a range of health and social services as wide as here is available under one roof: services of health care, dental care and psychiatry as well as alcohol and substance abuse counselling and social counselling focussed on young adults. Also available are rehabilitation services and services for people with disabilities. The building also houses a tobacco clinic, contraceptive advice point, immigration unit and laboratories. There are plenty of group spaces and equipment for e.g. music therapy and physiotherapy. The spaces are flexible and multi-purpose. They are also available for third-sector operators, such as patient organisations.

Jyväskylä Airport

Building an airport in Jyväskylä was planned as early as the 1920s. A suitable location was found in the Tikkakoski district and the airport was built in 1939 as a base for the Finnish Air Force, which it served during the war. The Aero company started regular airline service between Jyväskylä and Helsinki in 1946. The first actual terminal building was completed in 1960.

Western Metro, Lauttasaari Station

The metro project started in Helsinki in 1955, when a city council member moved that a metro be built. Because of rapid growth of population it was assumed that the street network would not have enough capacity to accommodate both private cars and public transport. Moving public transport underground was seen as a solution to the problem. The decision concerning the first phase construction was finally made in 1969, and regular traffic between Helsinki railway station and Itäkeskus (‘eastern centre’) began in August 1982. Gradually the metro line was extended both eastwards, where it reached Mellunmäki in 1989 and Vuosaari nine years later, and westwards, where the Ruoholahti stration was opened in 1993. Discussion about extending the metro line westwards to Espoo started in the late 1990s.

Western Metro, Koivusaari Station

The metro project started in Helsinki in 1955, when a city council member moved that a metro be built. Because of rapid growth of population it was assumed that the street network would not have enough capacity to accommodate both private cars and public transport. Moving public transport underground was seen as a solution to the problem. The decision concerning the first phase construction was finally made in 1969, and regular traffic between Helsinki railway station and Itäkeskus (‘eastern centre’) began in August 1982. Gradually the metro line was extended both eastwards, where it reached Mellunmäki in 1989 and Vuosaari nine years later, and westwards, where the Ruoholahti stration was opened in 1993. Discussion about extending the metro line westwards to Espoo started in the late 1990s.

Finnish Parliament House, Renovation

The oldest unit of the properties of Parliament is the Parliament House designed by Johan Sigfrid Sirén. The design was based on the winning entry, “Oratoribus”, made by the Borg–Sirén–Åberg Architects for an architectural competition organised in 1924. The building was completed in 1931 and has since served the Parliament of Finland with the exceptions of a three-month period during the Winter War (1939–40), when Parliament was evacuated to Kauhajoki, and a two-year period at the end of the renovation, when Parliament sessions were held at the concert hall of the Sibelius Academy.

Vesihelmi Swimming Bath

The town of Forssa, located in the heart of southern Finland, began to form when the Swedish-born industrialist Axel Wilhelm Wahren established a spinning mill by the Loimijoki river in 1874 and a weaving plant a little later. These were united into the Forssa company, after which the community was named. In the course of time, the industrial operations expanded and the community developed in the field of education also. The local secondary school, established in 1899, was the first secondary school in the Finnish countryside, and the present local cinema continues the tradition of the first Finnish countryside cinema, which was established in 1906. Forssa is also known for the meeting where the Finnish Labour Party was renamed the Social Democratic Party of Finland and a new party programme was accepted (1903). Nowadays the industrial community of Forssa is one Finland’s nationally significant cultural environments.

Regatta Spa

Founded in 1874, Hanko has been known as a spa town practically throughout its history. It provided Finland with a necessary winter port, and along with spa operations the town gained a summer livelihood, too. The spa and its restaurant, the present Casino, were built in 1879. The spa had its heyday before the First World War, when it was the finest of its kind in Finland. The building was badly damaged in bombardments during the Continuation War and was demolished in 1945. Spa services were also available at the local Continental Hotel (now Regatta), built in 1900, in its early years. A public swimming facility with diving platform and separate swimming houses for men and women was built at the end of the 19th century on the Tehtaanniemi peninsula at the southern tip of the town. While the swimming houses of the spa were mainly used by spa guests and other socialites, the public swimming houses served the needs of common people. Women’s swimming house from 1891 still remains on Tehtaanniemi.

Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

In the 1990s there was an empty site surrounded by listed signature buildings near the Cathedral in the heart of Helsinki, in the corner of two streets (Meritullinkatu and Kirkkokatu). It had served as a temporary parking area since 1971, when a building designed By C. J. von Heideken in 1893, used by the University of Helsinki, was demolished. The Finnish Real Estate Institute decided to build there an office building for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. In 1996, the institute organised an invited architectural competition, and the building was designed and constructed on the basis of the winning entry. Before the completion of the new building the ministry had operated in thirteen different addresses. About three hundred officials moved to the building.

Nordic Arts Centre

The former garrison barracks on Susisaari, one of the islands of the Suomenlinna sea fortress, were built during the Russian era, in 1866–68, to accommodate 500 soldiers. It replaced smaller barracks, which had been built in the Swedish era and damaged in the Crimean War. A barrel-vaulted corridor split the building in two. The eastern side housed six and the western side five barrel-vaulted dormitories plus vaulted kitchens at each end. The “bombproof” one-storey building had thick walls. The original roofing was of earth and turf, but in the 1870s, because of leaks, these were replaced by stone blocks and sand. At the same time the roof was reshaped into a mansard and covered by sheet metal. The rendered facades were originally more decorative than nowadays, but because of water damages they were repaired to their present condition.

Murikka, Training Centre of Finnish Metal Workers’ Union

The design of Murikka, made in collaboration by Pekka Helin and Tuomo Siitonen, is based on the winning entry of an open architectural competition organised in 1974 for the training centre of Finnish Metal Workers’ Union. Situated in Teisko, Tampere, the present-day Murikka Insitute is an adult education centre, whose mission is to maintain and develop the Finnish contract society in the field of working life by providing education to that end.