This experimental housing block is located in the Malminkartano estate, which was a testing ground for new ideas in urban planning in the 1970s and 1980s. The housing block was part of the City of Helsinki project, aimed at developing more diverse residential buildings. In Malminkartano, the specific aim was to combine the qualities of multi-story buildings and detached houses.
As a result of an invited competition held in 1978, the design of the block was divided between three offices: Raili and Reima Pietilä, A-Konsultit Architects and ATT Architects. The buildings were completed five years later in a slightly simplified form. The Pietilä couple designed three 2-storey buildings to the northeast end of the block.
On the yard side, each apartment has an ample outdoor space: the ground floor flats have gardens, and the first-floor flats have covered balconies. The street facades have angular bay windows to soften the look of the buildings. The precast concrete panels are facing brick-tiles and horizontal boards.
Raili and Reima Pietilä also had an interesting unrealised project in Malminkartano. In 1986, they won an invited competition for a chapel to be located on the other side of the train tracks. Three years later, however, they had to give up the project due to Reima Pietilä’s deteriorating health.
Text: Kristo Vesikansa