Government Office Building
The street Hämeentie, Haapaniemenkatu, Sörnäisten rantatie and Näkinkuja surround an area which had always been heavily industrial. Since 1853 there had been various engineering works, and even in the early 1970s, over 2000 people worked in this single block.
In 1974 the Haka building company bought the area, which had been marked out for housing in the Helsinki inner city master plan. Haka arranged an invited competition for the housing block in summer 1980.
After five years of planning and building based on the competition entry, a complex of three blocks of flats, called Haapapuistikko, Hämeenpuistikko and Vetehisenkuja 2 housing companies were completed in 1985. The building volumes line the streets surrounding the initial block in such a way as to form a continuous wall face delimiting the area. Variation is created mainly in the shop levels and through the patterns of windows and other apertures resulting from the different flat plans.
Redbrick links the block with the building stock along Sörnäinen waterfront. The architecture of the immediate surroundings finds echoes in the roof shapes and the vertical and horizontal articulation of the elevations. Inside the block, the architecture is more individual, with a strong orientation inwards onto the sheltered courtyard.
The plan calls for buildings to be added to the initial block along Helmiäispolku and Vetehisenkuja by the end of the decade. The architecture of these new buildings will reflect the more independent line followed by the courtyard fronts. Redbrick cladding on the street fronts will be the feature integrating all the buildings in the initial block.
Shops and stairways fill the street level along Hämeentie and Haapaniemenkatu, with some flats that have their little walled courts in appropriate places on the courtyard sides.
The flats are mainly conventional. The top floors also have some larger apartments with sheltered roof terraces which differ from the standard range.
In the middle of the shared courtyard, there is a grassy mound surrounded by trees, with a summer house and fountain on the top. The play and leisure areas are on the pathway running around this mound.
Gullichsen Kairamo Vormala Architects was in charge of the design of the development that was completed in 1985. The principal architect was Timo Vormala. He was assisted by Reijo Jallinoja, Keijo Koskinen and Maija Lapinleimu (competition phase) and Jaakko Sutela, Maritta Nylén, Annika Groop-Pennanen, Risto Iivonen, Eeva Rantala, Cristel Schalin, Sirkka-Liisa Sundvall and Aulikki Tiusanen (implementation phase).
Source: Finnish Architectural Review 6/1985