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tour of Helsinki's architecture by Kirsten

The beautiful thing about Helsinki is that this compact metropolis of 1.2 million people is made for walking. The municipality is protective of its human scale – you'll find almost no building over eight storeys – and the gridded, pleasant streetscape makes it very difficult to get lost.The character of this Baltic city is a slippery thing – at times you feel you're in eastern Europe, with the trams and the flat-fronted buildings, and at others, especially near the water, you could only be in Scandinavia. But one thing that is utterly distinctive is the Jugend architecture, the Austrian-influenced art nouveau style that manifested itself here at the turn of the last century as a kind of fairy-tale urbanity. You'll see buildings with heavy stone rustication as though they've been hewn from mountains, carved with decorative flourishes and the occasional gargoyle. Keep your eyes open and you'll discover no end of curious detailing.


Viikki Church
 by Kirsten

(JKMM Architects)
The church forms the core of an area plan that will be implemented gradually. It extends into the narrowing scene amidst building fronts, between a park and a market place. The relationship between the church and its surroundings will be defined in time on the basis of drafts ...

 by Kirsten

Viikki is known for its natural environment. The conservation area of Vanhankaupunginlahti is an important place of nesting and migration for birds. Large fields and farmlands are cultivated by a teaching farm that is part of the university's agricultural faculty. Southernmost part of the Latokartano residential zone is known as ...

 by Kirsten

Kiasma (built 1993–1998) is a contemporary art museum located on Mannerheimintie in Helsinki, Finland. Its name kiasma, Finnish for chiasma, alludes to the basic conceptual idea of its architect, Steven Holl. The museum exhibits the contemporary art collection of the Finnish National Gallery founded in 1990. Its central goal is ...

 by Kirsten

Tapiola bought world-wide fame for Finnish urban planning. From its first stages it gained both a national and international reputation for its high class architecture and landscaping, as well as an ideological experiment. Tapiola's planners aimed at demonstrating a new direction for Finnish town planning and housing. The aim of ...

Finlandia Hall
 by Kirsten

The building was designed by Alvar Aalto. The work began in 1967 and was completed in 1971.
The main features of the building's exterior are the great horizontal mass of the building proper and the towering auditorium that rises above it. The main external wall material is Carrara marble and ...

House of Culture (Kulttuuritalo)
 by Kirsten

The House of Culture in Helsinki is Aalto in his 'red brick period'. He achieves the free-form curves of the concert hall walls using wedge-shaped bricks, arranged variously with their shorter edge facing inside or outside the wall. The impact of the solid brick walls must be seen in the ...

Helsinki Central railway station
 by Kirsten

The station is mostly clad in Finnish granite, and its distinguishing features are its clock tower and the two pairs of statues holding the spherical lamps, lit at night-time, on either side of the main entrance. (Eliel Saarinen, 1904)

Temppeliaukio Church
 by Kirsten

The church was designed by architects and brothers Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. It is also known as the Church of the Rock.
The interior was excavated and built directly out of solid rock and is bathed in natural light which enters through the glazed dome. The ...

House in Muuratsalo
 by Kirsten

With the Villa Mairea, the experimental house in Muuratsalo is the best example of residential architecture of Alvar Aalto.

Aalto bought the island when he worked in the City of Säynätsalo and built a house there for evasion and experimentation. The island, then uninhabited, was the place to isolate ...

Säynätsalo Town Hall
 by Kirsten

The Säynätsalo Town Hall is a multifunction building complex – town hall, shops, library and flats – designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto for the municipality of Säynätsalo (merged with the municipality of Jyväskylä in 1993) in Central Finland. Aalto received the commission after a design contest in 1949, and ...

The Alvar Aalto Museum
 by Kirsten

The Alvar Aalto Museum is sited on a slope leading down towards Lake Jyväsjärvi. Alvar Aalto's design for the museum building was completed in 1973. The building, together with that of the Museum of Central Finland (Alvar Aalto 1961) form a centre of culture in the immediate vicinity of the ...

University of Jyväskylä
 by Kirsten

Several buildings in the main campus area were designed by famous Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Aalto received the commission to design the College of Education campus following a competition held in 1951. Aalto played on the idea of Jyväskylä's image among the town's inhabitants as it being the "Athens of ...

Otaniemi chapel
 by Kirsten

In Otaniemi chapel in Espoo (Kaija and Heikki Siren, 1957) the altar wall opens out into the exterior space, thus making the surrounding landscape and the changing seasons part of the worshipping space.

Kone Building
 by Kirsten

Keilaniemi is mostly known for the numerous head offices of large corporations located there. The district includes the head offices of Kone (Anttimatti Siikala's Kone Building).

Nokia House
 by Kirsten

Keilaniemi is mostly known for the numerous head offices of large corporations located there. The district includes the head offices of Nokia (Pekka Helin's Nokia House).

Kaleva Church
 by Kirsten

Kaleva Church is a church located in Kaleva, Tampere, Finland, and designed by Reima and Raili Pietilä. It was built in 1964–1966.

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