Suur-Merijoki Manor – The Jewel of Finnish Art Nouveau
Large exhibition hall 6.3.–8.9.2019

Gesellius, Lindgren, Saarinen / Eliel Saarinen: the Suur-Merijoki manor, library, 1903, Vyborg. Orig. Arkkitehtuurimuseo/MFA
Suur-Merijoki Manor in Viipuri Province was a Finnish Art Nouveau masterpiece, a ‘total work of art’ that became one the most famous Finnish homes of its era. The exhibition reawakens the former glory of the perished manor designed by the young architect trio Herman Gesellius (1874–1916), Armas Lindgren (1874–1929) and Eliel Saarinen (1873–1950).
The Museum of Finnish Architecture has a special relationship with Eliel Saarinen. The collection of Saarinen’s original drawings donated to the Finnish Association of Architects in 1952 was the “founding capital” marking the birth our museum in 1956, and to this day it remains our most significant collection of drawings.
In 2017 the Museum of Finnish Architecture received a donation from the National Museum comprising previously archived rare original drawings of Suur-Merijoki Manor and the Hvitträsk studio-residence. The drawings have been under intensive conservation and restoration since the donation was received. The majority of the drawings are now ready to go on public display.
The exhibition is produced by the Milavida Museum. The version seen at the Museum of Finnish Architecture will highlight original watercolour sketches from the museum’s collections.
Radical Theatre
Small exhibition hall 6.3.–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. This co-production between students from Aalto University and the Museum of Finnish Architecture illustrates how the museum’s collections can be utilized creatively in architectural tuition.
The exhibition was planned and produced as part of the 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. 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.