Helsinki Architecture

Before I get into more in-depth posts about Helsinki, I just had to share some pictures of all the fabulous architecture I spotted – and don’t worry – there’s lots more of Mr Aalto to come!

From top to bottom, left to right…

  • Kiasma is Helsinki’s Museum of Contemporary Art, designed to some controversy by American architect Stephen Holl.
  • The next two images are both of Musiikkitalo, the Helsinki Music Centre, which is right next door to Kiasma.
  • And below is another one of Kiasma as seen from Musiikkitalo. (Sorry, they were just both so stunning, it was difficult enough editing down to two pictures each!)
  • Next is the Bio Rex cinema. Built in 1936, it is one of Helsinki’s four oldest cinemas.
  • To the right of that is the Cable Factory or Kaapeli, where I was staying, a cultural centre as well as apartments largely occupied by creative types.
  • And underneath that is the Central Railway Station, the result of an architecture competition in 1904. It was won by Eliel Saarinen, with a ‘romantic’ design. A subsequent debate and demands for a modern, rational style to be used in major public buildings led Saarinen to abandon romanticism altogether and completely redesign the station. He finished his new design in 1909 and the station was opened in 1919.
  • Beneath that the two images down the left hand side are private residences, although they are private residences in the same street as Alvar Aalto’s studio (more on that to come), so perhaps you would expect them to look this good!
  • To their right is the School of Film and Media, City College of Technology designed by ARH-house and opened in 2003. The colourful pattern was designed to reference shipping containers, in honour of the area’s shipping history and the architects worked in collaboration with an artist called Markku Pääkkönen to create it.
  • And finally, just for the love of fire escapes and cranes – the view from the roof of the Iittala factory!

Further reading for the especially geeky: