Designed by architect Magnus Schjerfbeck, the Museum of Finnish Architecture is an excellent example of the repurposing of a historically valuable building. The building was built in 1899 for the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, and it is located in the centre of Helsinki. The building is a significant representative of the Neo-Renaissance style in Finland, owing particularly to its elegant interior.
The building currently housing the Museum of Finnish Architecture was built in 1899, originally commissioned for the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. The plans were drawn up by Magnus Schjerfbeck, Chief Architect at the Supreme Committee for Public Buildings.
The plans for the Neo-Renaissance building were not implemented in all their intended splendour, however – only the middle section included in the original design was completed, housing a library, as well as archive and meeting facilities. The aim was also to arrange scientific exhibitions in the facilities. The interior was – and still is – dominated by the grandiose staircase, which takes up a third of the entire building.
The Museum of Finnish Architecture building is a typical late-19th-century Neo-Renaissance palace, with its architecture relying particularly on 17th-century Venetian exemplars. Among the most distinctive Neo-Renaissance features are symmetrical facades arranged into three compositions by floor level, in addition to an abundance of decorative motifs and, as a counterbalance to these, subdued tones of colour.
As the extension was never built, the overall shape of the building has retained a distinctly cubic character. In the interior, the decorative staircase takes up the majority of the surface area. The staircase is among the most impressive Neo-Renaissance staircases in our country.