For a small and relatively "young" city, Helsinki sure has managed to gather many different styles of architecture within its center. Neo- Classical (Empire style), Neo-Renaissance; everything from Art Nouveau ("Jugend"), which morphed into National Romanticism (National Romantic Style) to Nordic Classicism, Functionalism to Modernism. There is even a stunning example of the Russian-Byzantine style, and a magnificent Neo-Gothic style stone church. Brief history of Helsinki. Helsinki looked
more like a village until the end of the 18th century and its buildings were mostly built of wood. The City suffered several devastating fires in the 17th and 18th centuries and the 1808 fire destroyed a third of Helsinki. Helsinki became the capital of the Finnish Grand Duchy in 1812. A large ebuilding plan was created. In a couple of decades a new Neo-Classical (Empire style) center was erected in the place of the old wooden buildings. - Fastfoward to year 2009 and you will see a city that is one of the fastest changing cities in Europe.
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NEO-CLASSICAL (EMPIRE STYLE) ARCHITECTURE is well represented in the center of Helsinki, especially in the Senate Square, below, with its three dominant buildings, all designed by Carl Ludwig Engel. From left to right: 1) Helsinki University main building; ( Building Info .) 2) the Lutheran Dome, and 3) the Government Palace - Valtioneuvoston Linna: ( Building Info). A fantastic link to the arhcheological history of the Government Palace. The statue of Emperor Alexander II stands in the center of the square. It was erected in 1894 to commemorate his re-establishing the Diet of Finland (the legislative assembly of the Grand Duchy of Finland from 1809 to 1906; in Finnish "Maapäivät", now "Valtiopäivät".) in 1863, and establishing many reforms increasing Finland's autonomy from Russia.
Engel also redesigned the 18th century central government buildings, located on the south side of the Senate Square, to better fit in with the general design of the square. Click on photo for information about the different buildings surrounding the square
about The Government Palace.
In Finnish = Valtioneuvoston Linna (Literal
translation: the Palace of the Council of State).
Close to the Senate and Market Squares you can
see the Russian-Byzantine
style Uspenski Cathedral, designed by Aleksander M. Gornostajev and built in
1868. It is the largest Eastern Orthodox church in Europe. second link
The Linnunlaulu (“Birdsong”, “Fågelsång”) Villa Area lies on the eastern side of Töölönlahti Bay, technically in Kallio Borough. The ornate villas were built mostly between the 1870s and the 1880s.was designed by architect Selim Lindqvist in 1890. It has been renovated into a home for writers. The café in the Blue Villa has a great view over Töölönlahti Bay.
A VIEW OF THE CENTER OF HELSINKI THAT FOREIGN VISITORS RARELY GET TO SEE. Villa Kivi on left, overlooking the bay and Töölö & the Center:
Helsinki's center is quite beautiful and Helsinki is adamant on maintaining its low (literally) profile. This is Töölö Bay, looking toward the center. Behind the fountain, you can see the tower of the National Museum (Kansallismuseo). Immediately to the left of the fountain, is Finlandia House. Designed by Alvar Aalto. A bit more to the left, you might be able to make out the rounded roof of Kiasma, the museum of contemporary art. Next left is the Sanomatalo building.
Katajanokka hosts many gorgeous JUGEND (Art Nouveau) buildings: ... and also an impressive Russian-Byzantine style cathedral:
The green building on the right, called "Aeolus" stands on the corner of Satamakatu and Kruunuvuorenkatu. It was built in 1903, the architect was Selim A. Lindqvist. This block is called "Kastanja".
The brown building, "Tallberg", in the center is on the corner of Satamakatu & Luotsikatu. Built in 1898, and designed by architects: Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren & Eliel Saarinen. This block is called "Lehtikuusi".
This building, "Norma", was built
in 1904 and designed by architects
von Essen, Kallio & Ikäläinen.
This block is called "Leppä".
Location: The corner of
A mixture of Art Nouveau, Neo-Classicism & Neo-Reneissance...
building to left: architect C.L.Engel. Built: 1822
Makasiinikatu 8. Block: Kaartin kasarmi.
-Light colored building, right: architect Selim A. Lindqvist.
Building name:"Sähkölaitos" Kasarmikatu 30-32, block: Sampi
The RIKHARDINKATU LIBRARY.
Built in 1881, it was the first building that was designed specifically to be
a library. The library was designed by architect Carl Theodor Höijer, who's Neo-Renaissancebuildings are still an integral part of Helsinki's city image.
In the 1920's, with the help of architect Runar Eklund, another floor a new
stairwell were added. Along the years more changes were made and the
building lost a large part of its original image.
See photos and information about this library.
Another link w some old photos of the library
Click image for larger photo:
"Firehouse", at Korkeavuorenkatu 26. Architect: Theodor
Built in 1891. Block: Miekkakala (swordfish).
This building is basically across the street from the grey
Neo-Romantic stone castle; "Puhelinlaitos", shown above.
The grey building, "Neodomus", second from right, at Korkeavuorenkatu
29, was built in: 1907. Architect: Gunnar Stenius. Block name: Sampi.
The building on far right, on the corner of Korkeavuorenkatu & Pieni
Roobertinkatu (at Pieni Roobertinkatu 5), was built in 1906.
Architect not known.
"Spennertin talo" (Spennert building)
Erottajankatu 1-3 / Pieni Roobertinkatu 13.
Architect: August Nordberg
Built in 189.
Block: Miekkakala (Swordfish)
Finlandia House, in Töölö. Architect Alvar Aalto.
A small part of Töölö neighborhood. Early morning by Töölö Bay: fountain & Finlandia house
Large, brown building, far left: The Parliament building (1931), designed by architect Johan Sigfrid Sirén. Finlandia House in front, and the tower of the National Museum rises behind it. (see information,)
Functionalism in architecture (and art), was developed in the early 1900's. It is associated with the modernist movement that originated in the second quarter of the 1900's.
Good examples of Functionalism in Helsinki, are the Helsinki Olympic Stadium (1952 Olympics) and Lasipalatsi (the "Glass Palace") on Mannerheimintie, one block up from the Railway Station.
Famous examples of early modernism in Helsinki are the Finlandia House (architect: Alvar Aalto) and the "Rock Church" (Temppeliaukion kirkko), (architects: Timo & Tuomo Suomalainen). Great second link.
Academic Bookshop, designed by Aalto
The White Finlandia House, located between Töölö Bay & Mannerheimintie.
Click for large view with building names.
The Finlandia House, behind the trees, is in a parklike setting, between Mannerheimintie -street, a small park and the Töölö Bay. This droplet shaped pond is part of an art installation. This whole area is very popular with joggers, especially the ones that live in Töölö.
ART NOUVEAU ("Jugend") architecture originated in the 1880s and blossomed in Helsinki. Largely inspired by the national epic "Kalevala" the style took a local form called National Romanticism. The National Museum (Kansallismuseo), designed by architects Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren & Eliel Saarinen, is a good example of National Romanticism. second link
The National Museum, built in the National
LEFT: Kiasma was designed by the American architect
Holl. Built: 1996-.
Sanomatalo was designed by architect Anti- Matti Siikala. Built:1999.
Sanomatalo is a business building that also houses exhibition spaces, some stores and a restaurant & café which is a popular meeting spot. Several news magazines have their offices in the building.
A later form of Art Nouveau ("Jugend") architecture: Helsinki Railway Station, designed by Eliel Saarinen. and built 1914. Located at Kaivokatu 1, in Kluuvi neighborhood. This block is called -surpirse!- "Rautatieasema" (Railway Station )
Looking East, toward Kaisaniemi neighborhood from the Railway Station:
The very center, on Mannerheimintie: Far left you can sort of see the tower of the National Museum (Kansallismuseo). The next four images, below, show the real order of all the shown buildings along the very beginnig of Mannerheimintie (Mannerheim Street) - Mannerheimvägen.
The Old Student House (low yellow building) was designed by architect Axel Hampus Dahlström and built in 1870. The New Student House (w. green cupola) was designed by architects Armas Lindgren & Wivi Lönn, and built in 1910. Far right, corner of Stockmann. Dark building w. flags: Sokos & Vaakuna Hotel. The block is named "Soopeli" and we are in Kluuvi neighborhood.
The Old Church Park, framed by buildings on Lönnrotinkatu, Yrjönkatu & Bulevardi streets. CLICK on PHOTO. Below, the architects that designed these buildings:
Carl Ludwig Engel (Old Church), Armas Lindgren, Flor Granholm, Unknown (at least to us), Sigurd Forsterus, Theodor Granstedt & Sebastian Gripenberg. The pretty building that belongs between the two photos, can be seen in the center photo below (far right in photo): it was designed by architect Waldemar Aspelin.
Wow! A STUNNING LINK (by Helsingin Sanomat) to a 360 panoramic view of the center of Helsinki. Click on the red circles on the photos to get info and history and click on the arrows to change the view. Sorry, in Finnish only, but you will get the place names and the architects at least.
MUSEUM OF FINNISH ARCHITECTURE
Address: Kasarmikatu 24, 00130 Helsinki. Phone: (358) (0)9 8567 5100
ARCHITECTURAL ATTRACTIONS in HELSINKI
ASK THE MUSEUM - interesting questions about Helsinki
ANOTHER FABULOUS LINK that allows you to see the center of Helsinki building by building, with good information.
In Finnish only: Historic articles about some Helsinki blocks.
Virtual reality link to historic Helsinki.
Side by side
"THEN & NOW" PHOTOS of Helsinki
Famous Finnish Architects (and some foreign ones, too)
SAFA: Finnish Association of Architects.