Profile - Museum of Finnish Architecture

The building now housing the Museum of Finnish Architecture was constructed for the Learned Societies in 1899. The idea of a building for the Societies was kindled at the beginning of the 1890s, the site was reserved in 1896, and the drawings were made by Magnus Schjerfbeck, chief architect at the National Board of Public Building. The planned Neo-Renaissance building with a cubic central volume and two wings was not realized as such; only the central part was constructed, including library, assembly hall with gallery, studies and a monumental staircase which takes a third of the building.

Several efforts have been made to complete the building. In 1907 the library was proposed to be extended to a semi-circular annex on the courtyard side. In 1922 Schjerfbeck made a new proposal for extension, this time modifying the original wing idea. Neither plan was realized. The Learned Societies moved to the House of the Estates (Säätytalo) in 1931, and the Kasarmikatu 24 building was assigned to the Gymnastics Department of the University of Helsinki. The former assembly hall was filled with gymnastic equipment, and showers were built in the attic. When the Faculty of Sports and Health Sciences moved to Jyväskylä at the beginning of the 1970s the building was vacated. In 1981 the Museum of Finnish Architecture moved there after repairs and restorations from an old wooden villa in Puistokatu.

The latest effort of extension was the Temporary Exhibitions Hall which was to connect the two museums located on the same site, the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the Design Museum. There was an architectural competition for the hall in 1987. The winning proposal placed the exhibition hall underground. The extension was not constructed, and the completion of the 100-year-old building is still pending.


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