An exhibition at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, 2 March–30 April 2011

In Finland, the state has been involved in an active and wide-ranging manner in building and development. It has significantly steered the evolution of the urban fabric and Finnish society. The beginning of state building activities can be dated to the 3rd of September 1811, when the Emperor of Russia, who was also the Grand Duke of Finland, established the Intendant’s Office, with a decree on “supervising architecture that is both useful and embellishing for all nations.” The Intendant’s Office has been succeeded by the Board of Public Buildings, the National Board of Public Buildings, the State Real Property Agency and present-day Senate Properties. Over these two centuries, the tasks have changed along with developments in society. Work concentrating on building has shifted to providing
a wide range of services for the facilities of government offices and agencies. Building,development and the upkeep of existing building stock are still a central aspect of the work of Senate Properties.

In honour of the bicentennial of state building activities in Finland, Senate Properties and the Museum of Finnish Architecture are staging the exhibition Beauty, Functionality, Durability – Two Centuries of State Building and Development in Finland 1811–2011. The buildings and projects featured in the exhibition have been chosen by a joint working group representing Senate Properties and the museum. The exhibits include drawings, photographs, scale models and films. The oldest buildings presented in the exhibition are the Senate Building from 1828 and the House of the Estates from 1890, both in Helsinki. Recent works of architecture include the Helsinki Music Centre, which will be completed in the spring of 2011, the Joensuu Research Centre of the Finnish Forest Research Institute (2004) and the State Emergency Services School in Kuopio (1992–2005).

Alongside its section on history, the exhibition addresses the future in a multimedia display containing the views of Senate Properties on the working environments of the future, the goals and methods of design, and examples of new design for working environments. Exhibits will also include sketches and alternative designs dating from the years of the Intendant’s Office (1811–1865). This material was on sale and was acquired by Senate Properties to commemorate the bicentennial of state building activities. It was donated permanently to the Åkerfeldt Collection of the National Board of Antiquities to which it had originally belonged.

The exhibition has been scripted by Juhana Lahti PhD, Head of Research at the Museum of Finnish Architect, and the exhibition design is by Hannele Grönlund, architect SAFA.

The exhibition will go from Helsinki to the Academy Building in Turku (6–29 May 2011) and from there to the Museum of Central Finland in Jyväskylä (9 September–30 October 2011), the Museum of North Ostrobothnia in Oulu (8 November 2011–1.1.2012) and finally to the Kuopio Academy of Design (10–29 January 2012).


Beauty, Functionality, Durability
Two Centuries of State Building and Development in Finland 1811–2011
Appearing in connection with the exhibition is a 160-page book written by Juhana Lahti and published by Senate Properties presenting the works featured the exhibition and the main building and development projects of the Finnish state in recent decades. The book is in Finnish and Swedish, with a summary in English. On sale at the museum bookshop, price €36,00.

Additional programme in Finnish

Lecture by architect Päivi Hietanen on the working environment of the future 6 p.m. on Wednesday 9 March at the Museum of Finnish Architecture.

Guided visit to the Haka 6 office building
5 p.m. on Wednesday 23 March at Hakaniemenranta 6. Binding advance registration!

Guided visit to the latest buildings of the Otaniemi campus
Thursday 7 April. Chartered coach leaving from the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art at 4.15 p.m. Binding advance registration!

Guided visit to the Helsinki Music Centre
5 p.m. on Tuesday 10 May. Binding advance registration!

The guided tours are ment for exhibition visitors. Binding advance registration to be made at the museum ticket office.

More information on the programme

House of the Estates, Helsinki, 1890
Architect: Gustaf Nyström
Photo: Simo Rista
Turku Railway Station, Turku, 1940
Architects: Väinö Vähäkallio and Martti Välikangas
Photo: O. Lehtonen / Finnish Railway Museum
Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, 1998
Architect: Steven Holl
Photo: Jussi Tiainen
Joensuu Research Centre of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu, 2002–2004
Architects: Sarc Architects / Sarlotta Narjus, Antti‐Matti Siikala
Photo: Jussi Tiainen