3 / 2019 - Living

The third issue of the year examines different ways of living and the current range of housing production. Architects in different stages of their careers share their thoughts on living and housing. Young architect trio AS LL TK, one of the winners of the recent Housing Reform Helsinki architecture competition, discusses ideas behind their winning proposal for a block of flats in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki. Architects Kirsi Korhonen and Mika Penttinen, well-known for their housing projects, sit down for an interview about their design philosophy. Retired architect Olli Lehtovuori seeks directions for more human-centred housing, and postdoctoral researcher Jyrki Tarpio compares current Finnish housing production with Central European counterparts.

The issue showcases an array of housing projects, from service housing to apartment blocks and summer villas to saunas. Architect Tuomas Toivonen writes about his recent endeavours in developing a low-cost, adaptable housing concept with a developer. On the other hand, Sanna Tegel re-visits the old ideals of living, and examines Alvar Aalto’s Villa Skeppet designed in the 1960s from the point of view of environmental psychology.



There are two kinds of housing problems in Finland. Due to low demand, homes are too cheap in a large part of the country and on the other hand, too expensive in certain growth centres, due to high demand. We need to build many more homes where the demand is high, as a sufficient supply of housing prevents prices from rising too much. However, focusing solely on volume is not enough – high quality is also required. So, what kind of housing should we build in our cities?

I have been fascinated, for a long time, by housing construction in the German-speaking countries of Central Europe. In these countries, the climate and the culture are not radically different from Finland, but they have a large variety of housing traditions even so. In Vienna, for example, rental housing is common, and the City of Vienna steers housing production by using a so-called four-pillar model (4-Säulen-Modell). In Zürich, non-profit cooperatives dominate housing production. In Berlin, joint building ventures (Baugruppe projects) became common in the early 2000s and flourished at the turn of the 2000s and 2010s.

These models differ from each other. However, they have all produced an interesting variety of building, housing and spatial typologies. Concepts such as Jokerräume, Clusterwohnungen and Zusatzzimmer, as well as the Grundstruktur approach, are rather common in contemporary Central European projects but almost unknown here in Finland. Why?

Perhaps the answer is simple: Central Europeans have lived in cities for a longer time. Finns have become used to responding to individualised requests by building detached suburban houses, whereas Central Europeans are accustomed to denser solutions.

Two years ago, I surveyed Finnish urban housing concepts, using flexibility, dweller inclusion and affordability as my criteria. The concepts that I found the most were mini houses and buildings. It seems that the old idea of Existenzminimum is still dominating our thinking, and more and more mini homes are called for. On the basis of the Central European examples, I seriously believe that the Finnish vocabulary could be more versatile and the spectrum of solutions substantially wider than today. ↙

Jyrki Tarpio, DSc (Arch), architect SAFA, is a postdoctoral researcher in housing design at Tampere University. In the Dwellers in Agile Cities (DAC) research project (2016–19), he was in charge of creating the Cookbook for Agile Housing application (housingcookbook.com), where the German concepts Jokerräume, Clusterwohnungen and Zusatzzimmer, for example, are explained.

Näköislehti: Site Logic