Hilding Ekelund was born on 18 November 1893. His career expands to seven decades, from the 1910s to the 1970s. Ekelund studied architecture at the Institute of Technology and received his diploma of architecture in 1916. After completing his studies Ekelund worked at Eliel Saarinen’s office in the late 1910s. In the turn of the 1920s, he moved to Sweden and worked at Hakon Ahlberg’s and Ivar Tengbom’s offices. In 1926 Hilding Ekelund established an office in Helsinki with his architect wife Eva Kuhlefelt-Ekelund. They worked in close collaboration in the following decades.
Hilding Ekelund’s breakthrough was the architecture competition of Kunsthalle Helsinki in 1927, which he won together with Jarl Eklund. The building, anticipating modernism, was completed in 1928. From 1941 to 1949 Ekelund worked as the city architect of Helsinki and became known for the functionalist suburban plans. His main works of residential architecture are the Games Village for the Olympic Games 1952 (completed in 1950) and the northern suburb Sahanmäki Residential Area (completed in 1956) in Helsinki.
Ekelund worked as a teacher of architecture from 1927 to 1941 and as a professor of housing design from 1950 to 1958 at the Helsinki University of Technology. He was also the editor in chief of Finnish Architectural Review in 1931–1934.
Hilding Ekelund died at the age of 91, on 30 January 1984 in Helsinki.