(6.3.2019 - 2.6.2019)

Finnish architect P.E. Blomstedt designed a theatre for Hakaniemi Square exemplifying the most radical contemporary ideas about theatrical reform. His modern ‘People’s Theatre’ was never built, but the original drawings are preserved in the Museum of Finnish Architecture’s archives.
The exhibition was planned and produced as part of the Aalto University Exhibiting Architecture master class. During the course, the students were asked to think of innovative uses for the museum’s collections. In doing so, they also reflected on broader issues related to presenting architecture in exhibitions.
P.E Blomstedt’s modern theatre in Hakaniemi Square
P.E. Blomstedt came from a well-known family of architects originating from the town of Jyväskylä in central Finland. Both his father Yrjö and his brother Aulis were also architects. Blomstedt’s career coincided with a stylistic transition from Nordic Classicism to modernism.
P.E. Blomstedt drew inspiration from Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius and radical theatre director Erwin Piscator, who aspired to draw in the audience as part of the performance by reinventing the conventional layout of a theatre.
Blomstedt’s proposal, too, would have enabled experimentation with new staging concepts. The stage, sets and stalls could be moved mechanically, allowing the entire space to be utilized by the actors. Performances were to have been enlivened with films, lighting effects, projections and advanced technical solutions for music and sound effects. The giant glass wall allowed the external space to be linked and used for performances. As the stage was on the ground floor, actors could even drive a car directly onto the set.
The theatre was never built, however. It has been conjectured that this may have been due to political controversy or the sudden withdrawal of financiers. Blomstedt’s death in November 1935 marked the final demise of the plan, depriving Helsinki of what would have been “the world’s most modern theatre”.
Exhibiting Architecture: from studio course to exhibition
The Aalto University’s Exhibiting Architecture master class was organized in cooperation with the Museum of Finnish Architecture from September 10 to December 10, 2018. During that time, the students fine-tuned their exhibition proposals together with the museum’s personnel. The instructors were Professor Jenni Reuter and university lecturers Tuomas Siitonen and Maiju Suomi. The exhibition was curated by Elina Standertskjöld, Head of the MFA Archives. The contributing students are Maria BjuhrLaura EerikäinenMengxue GuYuka HanawaKasperi KuusentoKorbinian SchützeNora SønstlienAnniina TaivainenMaisa TirkkonenHeikki TorkkeliNiklas TurunenWang Xin and Yehan Zhang.

P.E. Blomstedt: People's theatre / Radical Theatre, 1934