HELSINKI’S MODERNIST “FIN(n)ISH”

THREE ARCHITECTURAL ART déco and modernist GEMS IN FINLAND’S CAPITAL CITY…

One of the ironies of preparing many of my travel-related posts is that the process of the travel itself often leaves me little time to devote to writing my pieces for these pages. Right now for example we are in Jönköping having returned from a week in Finland, and preparing for a flight this evening to London, to then catch a plane on Friday for Malaga. And that’s nothing compared to what we have coming up over the next two months (many trees have been and will be planted!).

In other words, the next several posts will return to being more picture based and less wordy (a good thing many might feel) and fortunately, our recent stay in Helsinki provided me with some excellent visual material.

Parliament House or Eduskuntatalo (Neo-Classicist / Modernist) – Johan Sigrid Siren – 1926

In this post I wanted to show off some of the Finish capital’s superb examples of early 20th century architecture, which were something of a surprise, to me at least. While I had a preconception of elegant 19th century waterfront facades, spectacular cake-icing churches blended with hard-edged, glistening glass and steel temples of contemporary Nordic minimalism, for some reason I had arrived ignorant of Helsinki’s handful of Déco and Modernist jewels.

Central Train Station (Art Déco ) – Eliel Saarinen  – 1919
The station’s interior matches the exterior, and reminded me of Grand Central in New York. Thus, perhaps appropriately it provides one of the more spectacular settings for a Burger King that I have come across, and certainly enhanced the enjoyment of my Whopper!

My being so uninformed is especially damning when one discovers that the Finish parliament house ( Eduskuntatalo in the native idiom) is itself as bold a statement of Neo-Classical lines as one is likely to see anywhere this side of the Atlantic Ocean. And while that building might prove a tad brutal for some (not for me though as I’m a sucker for “power architecture” of all eras and styles), the two other examples I highlight here should prove charming enough for most tastes…

Currently, the Virgin Oil Company Building
(All additional information regarding the Architect, the building’s original purpose and its date are welcome…)
Sadly, I have no idea who designed this exquisite building which these days is the home of the Virgin Oil Company and their restaurant. Any additional information welcome…

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3 thoughts on “HELSINKI’S MODERNIST “FIN(n)ISH”

  1. Thank you Mary (and good to hear from you by the way!), plus, I couldn’t agree more. The contrast between Finland and Sweden was subtle on some superficial levels but massive in other, more important ways. Suffice to say here, that I really liked Finland and the Fins……………………………..

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