This spring the 1970s will be taking over the Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki!

Two exhibitions, a book and a versatile outreach programme will shed new light on the architecture of the controversial 1970s.

Please join us on an excursion to Finland in the 1970s! This was a decade when the nation dreamed of economic growth, prosperity and equality. The suburbs became the new home for many of those who had moved to the city in search of work. They were able to enjoy the increasing amount of free time sat in their modern living rooms, watching television. In architects’ studios, society’s dreams were given a concrete form – and more effectively than ever before.

Concrete Dreams – And other perspectives on 1970s architecture, the main spring and summer exhibition at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, explores the architecture and other phenomena of the controversial decade. It tells about the ideologies and social progress that guided the work of architects at a time when the welfare state was under construction, cities were growing and housing construction was at its peak. A lot of the old houses had to make way for larger houses and more efficient roads. The industrial, systems architecture, which emphasised repetition and uniformity, as well as the grid pattern expanding in different directions, fitted perfectly with the era’s ethos of universality.

Concrete Dreams invites visitors to experience the spirit of the 1970s, for instance, enticing them to imagine how a well-equipped suburban home built of prefabricated concrete elements with adjoining playgrounds felt like for its first residents. The exhibition also highlights gems from the 1970s of different building typologies: theatres, town halls, university buildings, churches, factories and water towers. The exhibition challenges visitors to think about the value of these buildings in our environment, now that they have reached an age when they require renovation. The exhibition shows the visitor the diversity and pluralism of the architecture of that time.

Concrete Dreams continues the Museum of Finnish Architecture’s series of exhibitions exploring the architecture of past decades, this time reaching the 1970s. The exhibition has been curated by Petteri Kummala, the Museum of Finnish Architecture’s deputy head of information services and research, Jutta Tynkkynen, the museum’s curator of exhibitions, and Anni Vartola D.Sc. (Tech.) senior lecturer in Architecture at Aalto University.

Concrete Dreams
And other perspectives on 1970s architecture
Museum of Finnish Architecture, 17.5.2023–15.10.2023

The Museum of Finnish Architecture Studio explores the 1970s through exhibition posters

A taste of the visual culture of the 1970s is on offer in the Studio exhibition A Diverse Decade – Posters from Architecture Exhibitions of the 1970s. The exhibition highlights the impressive poster graphics in the museum’s collections. Between 1970 and 1979, the Museum of Finnish Architecture organised an incredible eighty exhibitions on various themes. The exhibition posters invite visitors to explore not only the aesthetics of the time, but more broadly what kind of topics were considered worthy of an architecture exhibition.

A Diverse Decade
Posters from Architecture Exhibitions of the 1970s
Studio, 13.4.–28.5.2023

Book (in Finnish):
Murrosten vuosikymmen – Suomen arkkitehtuuri 1970-luvulla
(A Decade of Upheaval – Finnish Architecture in the 1970s)

Murrosten vuosikymmen makes us realise how little of Finnish architecture from the 1970s has been researched and recorded. The various articles in the book highlight the meanings and key phenomena related to the built environment of this “forgotten decade”. They also offer a nuanced overall picture of construction during the 1970s, the environmental and regional planning ideals, and the intellectual legacy of the period. The book, which continues the series of Museum of Finnish Architecture monographs on Finnish architecture through the decades, is intended to launch a discussion about the values and special features of the architecture of the 1970s. The book’s scholarly articles are written by: Minna Sarantola-Weiss, Kirsi Saarikangas, Ranja Hautamäki, Julia Donner, Juhana Lahti, Jorma Mukala, Harri Hautajärvi, Essi Lamberg, Maire Mattinen and Anni Vartola. The book has been realized with funding from Foundation for Quality of Construction Products.

Additional information:

Petteri Kummala 
Head of Research, Museum of Finnish Architecture 
+358 45 7731 0477 

Ilona Hildén
Communications Planner
+358 45 7731 0468