Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd
With the announcement of the result of the design competition for the residential building of businessman Julius Tallberg in 1897, a tectonic shift occurred in Finnish architecture. From among 17 submissions, both the first and second prizes went to an unknown trio of architects, Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen. The trio was just about to graduate as architects, and the Tallberg House marked the first step in their dazzling careers.
Tallberg House signalled an architectural breakthrough and the launch of art nouveau architecture in Helsinki. The three architects made full use of the triangular shape of the plot, designing an evocative miniature castle to serve as the gateway to the Katajanokka art nouveau district. The symmetry of the façades and their vertical tripartite division are reminiscent of late 19th-century revivalist styles, but their versatile expressiveness, and especially the towering slate roofs, indicate a new era as do the use of stone on the ground floor and the broad undecorated walls. The wrought-iron design on the main door incorporates the signature whiplash line of art nouveau.
Originally, the house comprised only three large apartments whose varied and irregularly shaped spaces and custom-made furnishings lent the sense of cosiness demanded by the new ideals. Having served as offices for a long time, the building has now been restored for residential use. On the other side of the Luotsikatu street is located the Aeolus Building, designed by architect Selim A. Lindqvist and completed in 1903. Together the Tallberg House and Aeolus Building form a gateway on the streetscape to the art nouveau districts of Katajanokka.
Source: Art Nouveau in Helsinki – Architectural guide (Helsinki City Museum)