In November of 2014 we quickly decided that we needed more space and started looking around for something that would fit our needs: > 100 m2, well planned, good location and architecturally pleasing. But we quickly found that there few houses on the market of this size in the area and the ones we found didn’t really fit our plans.
Then one day when we were out walking, we stumbled upon this:
And two weeks later we had bought the place. We now live in the northern part of Tapiola (Hagalund in Swedish), kind of a suburb of Helsinki, with a really interesting background. It’s basically the first conceptual city in Finland and it’s popularly called the Garden City because of its abundance of park areas. I’ll let this lovely clip from the 1960s speak for itself.
A bunch of renowned Finnish architects were recruited in the late 1940s up until the mid 1960s to create housing that could serve as inspiration not only for the rest of Finland but for the world. Two of the architects were Kaija and Heikki Siren, who themselves lived in Tapiola.
They designed churches, schools, government buildings and business facilities all around Finland and some in Austria, France and Iraq. And then they built this collection of red brick residential houses in Tapiola in 1963 – which we consequently fell in love with. It’s built out of durable red bricks in two levels with a large staircase by a five meter ceiling height, with a large back yard to boot. The row houses have high sloped ceilings and wall to wall windows which means plenty of light – it’s by far the best planned house we’ve ever lived in. Here’s a general plan of how the area is laid out.
I have a book called Homes of Tapiola (Tapiolan Koteja, 1963) and I made a few images from it comparing photos of the same rooms to illustrate how it has changed or hasn’t changed.
The living room:
A few old photos of the yard area:
And the staircase (which originally was supposed to be narrow spiral one – luckily that didn’t materialize). The huge wall rug was made by one of the original inhabitants in the neighbourhood and it sort of came with the apartment. We just love this place.