Published in 1/2023 - Movement


Editorial 1/2023: Motion Detector

Kristo Vesikansa

In issue 7/1911 Arkitekten described in detail the multi-level traffic arrangements of the Grand Central Terminal then under construction in New York. Placing the tracks underground also opened unprecedented opportunities for the development of the railway yard area. A few years later, solutions of a similar type also appeared in the plans of Finnish architects.

The first issue of the predecessor to the Finnish Architectural Review, the Swedish-language Arkitekten, first saw the light of day in April 1903. Our journal has thus followed the movements and trends in architecture for already 120 years, making it one of the world’s oldest still-published architecture journals. Although social conditions, construction technology, design methods and stylistic trends have since then undergone major upheavals, the goals defined by the editors in the first issue are still easy to subscribe to today:

Arkitekten strives, to the extent that space allows, to deal with the architectural events of the day, to describe and illustrate important new buildings in the country, to refer to significant statements in foreign professional journals, and to conscientiously follow the newly begun work to know better our old churches and castles… But Arkitekten equally addresses the general public, which in recent years on a daily basis has shown an increased interest in related questions, and here the journal bears perhaps its greatest responsibility: to educate the public through objective criticism of completed works and projects and thought-provoking articles in order to help them understand what is valuable in the architects’ art.

The journal was founded at a time of transition in Finnish architecture: National Romanticism had just established its position, but the older generation was still working on the principles of historicism, while the youngest architects were looking towards the rationalism that was already on the horizon. As we can see from the above quote, protecting the Finnish architectural heritage played a central role from the very beginning. At the turn of the 20th century, the focus was on Finland’s few medieval buildings, while today we work more and more with the large volumes built since the Second World War.

The journal’s format, created 120 years ago, has proven to be amazingly long-lived and adaptable in various situations. At the same time, the burning questions of each era have left their mark on the issues of the journal: at the turn of the 1920s and 1930s functionalism and its new ideals, in the 1940s post-war reconstruction, in the 1960s industrialised building, and in the 1980s postmodernism with its theoretical reflections.

At the present time, the most visible driver of change in architecture is the global sustainability crisis.

At the present time, the most visible driver of change in architecture is the global sustainability crisis. In the pursuit of carbon neutrality, besides construction and energy production, it is traffic, responsible for more than one fifth of Finland’s greenhouse emissions, that plays a key role. Investments of billions of euros are being planned for rail projects, from light rail to high-speed lines extending to Central Europe. These have significant effects on the development of urban areas, as can be seen from our review of current light rail projects. The densification of cities in the vicinity of rail traffic inevitably leads to conflicts between the goals of housing production, cultural-historical values and the wishes of the residents. In their article, Matti Jänkälä and Ella Kaira consider the potential for urban grass-roots movements to influence such reform projects.

High expectations have also been placed on new mobility technologies, such as self-driving cars, vactrains, and Mobility-as-a-Service concepts. Otto-Wille Koste and Janne Olin remind us that seemingly innovative systems can, however, turn against the original objectives by undermining the operating conditions of the existing forms of sustainable mobility.

The projects presented in this issue of the Finnish Architectural Review describe different forms of mobility architecture. Länsimetro, the second phase of which was completed at the end of last year, has been one of the largest construction projects in Finland this century. Sustainable mobility also requires large investments in cycling and pedestrian routes. The Logomo bridge in Turku has received a great deal of attention mainly due to delays and cost overruns, but it is also an ambitious piece of infrastructure. The construction stages of Helsinki-Vantaa Airport have been featured in the Finnish Architectural Review many times since the 1960s. The latest expansion, presented in this issue, serves as both the entrance and exit of the entire complex, as well as a hub for various modes of transportation. The huge logistics centres that have become an integral part of today’ landscape rarely exceed the publication threshold of architecture journals, but Finnish Design Shop’s headquarters and logistics centre in Turku shows that this type of building also allows for high-quality architecture.

To reduce the environmental impact, the Finnish Architectural Review will from now on be printed on slightly thinner paper. We believe, however, that we will still be able to convey to readers the most valuable aspects of the featured projects. ↙

Read the Movement issue →