Our introduction to Finland begins in Helsinki, a city filled with treasures of the Arts and Crafts Movement, known there as Jugenstil. We are especially delighted that Cody Oreck, who has been living in Finland with her husband who has been the American Ambassador since 2009 is working with us on this trip which means we will have a number of “behind the scenes” visits not usually offered to tourists.
Among the highlights of Helsinki architecturally, and known for its collection, is the Ateneum building, home of the Finnish National Gallery. Across the square is the extraordinary Main Railway Station one of Eliel Saarinen’s first major commissions.
In the 19th Century, several areas of Helsinki developed as residential areas. Two of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture are in the Eira section of Helsinki. The Villa Johanna designed by Selim Lindqvist and next door the Eira Hospital by Lars Sonck looking remarkably like a private home with a bold, typically massive entryway.
Finnish design continued well into the 20th century and we will explore many of the works of the renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, including a visit to his private house and studio, the Alvar Aalto Museum and Finlandia Hall.
A special visit is planned to Hvittrask, the peaceful 16-hectare lakeside site of the homes and workshops of Eliel Saarinen and his partners, Herman Gesselius and Armand Lindgren. Constructed between 1901 and 1903, the buildings are designed in the Finnish National Romantic style and built with log beams and granite. Each architect designed his own house. Today Saarinen’s home serves as a museum.
Outside of Helsinki, we will visit the artists’ community at Tuusula Lake. Begun by the national writer Alexis Kivi, we will visit the homes of the painters Pekka Halonen and Eero Jarnefelt.
We will also visit Ainola, Jean Sibelius’ home designed by Lars Sonck and Villa Kokkonen, one of the rare private homes designed by Alvar Aalto for his composer friend Jonas Kokkonen.