Come tour City Hall with Petteri Kummala, Head of Archives at the Museum of Finnish Architecture. You’ll get to see places that are closed to the public and learn about the key features of Aarno Ruusuvuori’s architecture on five floors, built around different themes.
Lobby: a sense of experiment and space
Step inside the City Hall entrance, where the original design from Engel meets Ruusuvuori’s spacious and coherent modernist lobby. The controlled juxtaposition of the imposing stairway and the ceiling lamp casting light from above creates an unfettered and uplifting ambience.
Toilets: Democratic and serene
Enter the most elegant toilet facilities in Helsinki, where each detail has been thought out carefully. You can take a gander into both the ladies room and the gents. They have some differences, can you tell what they are? The brass and steel fixtures and the sandstone floors are of the same high quality as all of the other materials in the building. The peaceful atmosphere flows with a sense of nostalgia for bygone times.
Offices: Detailed and holistic architecture
Get on the brass lift to ascend to the second and third floor offices. The colours of the walls, designed by Anitra Lucander, strongly influence the mood. Glass walls with their brass frames bring contemporary art to mind. This building, the most modern of its era, is full of fascinating details that were masterminded by the architect Aarno Ruusuvuori.
The mayor’s reception: hierarchy and history
Take a peek into where the mayors of Helsinki greet their guests and hold small receptions. Many of their speeches are also broadcast from this room. In classical architecture, the most valuable elements are highlighted by making them clearly visible, which is why Ruusuvuori placed the most valuable spaces in the centre of the building.
Courtyard: Layers of history and brutalism
Stand in City Hall’s courtyard and look at the only façade Aarno Ruusuvuori designed for City Hall. You can see signs of both the 1970s renovation and the 1980s council chamber. The raw concrete gives a good impression of the meaning of concrete brutalism.