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Two screenshots of a visual article, on the left a blond woman in an apartment, on right a sketch of a floor plan
Screenshots of Yle's article featuring Henna Helander talking about the qualities that make an apartment flexible in a pandemic situation. image: yle.fi

Finland talks about modernism, housing and the values that steer urban development

To our foreign readers, we have chosen some highlights of the architectural debate currently going on in Finnish media.

In recent weeks, the needs that COVID and remote work and schooling have imposed on housing solutions have been lively discussed in the Finnish media. The spatial distribution of homes in the ordinary 1970s developments has proven to be one of the most functional in this situation, as stated Henna Helander, Chairwoman of the Finnish Association of Architects, in an interview and video insert published by The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle.

“As remote work becomes more common, it is good to be able to close doors between different rooms. Today, new apartments are often very small and a more spacious effect is created by open spaces such as kitchens. A typical 1970s two-bedroom apartment receives natural light from two directions, and the floor plan allows circulating around the apartment. This creates a feeling of spaciousness.”

The article in Finnish, with ample use of photos, can be found on Yle’s site through this link.

Is money the only steering force in developing our cities? Lately, this question has come up in many readers’ letters. In February, three professors of architecture expressed their concern in Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s leading daily paper, about the South Harbor area in the historical centre of Helsinki. In their opinion, the City of Helsinki is giving the lead of the area’s development to the hands of investors and forgetting the greater value of our built heritage. The readers’ letter in Finnish can be found through this link.

Modernism and Finland’s strong history with are close to some people’s hearts while others would like to erase the whole era from the architectural charts. Nevertheless, Finland is typically a modernistic country and we must cherish our built heritage. In March, Helsingin Sanomat published a praising review of a new book on architect Pekka Pitkänen’s (1927–2018) works. Pitkänen is especially known for the sacral buildings he designed in the Turku region, which are masterpieces of concrete architecture. Learn more about the architect from the Finnish Architecture Navigator through this link. More information on the English language book, published by DOM Publishers, can be found through this link.