The Finnish National Museum

National icon’s renovation and work environment development

Sakari Pälsi. 1930–39. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.

Project description:

The renovation will target the main building, Vaunuvaja, and the retaining and fence walls surrounding the National Museum grounds. In particular, the roofs and façades of buildings, building technology, the outer walls of Vaunuvaja, and the fence and wall structures on the plot, are the subject of renovation. The functional development of the National Museum’s renovation is mainly related to the development of work environment. The work environment development takes place in the present workspaces in the main building as well as in Vaunuvaja. The library of the Finnish Heritage Agency, which is open to the public, will also be housed in Vaunuvaja. The renovation project is significantly influenced by the museum’s extension project designed by JKMM Architects, and requires coordination between the two projects. The customer service areas in the main building will be concentrated at the junction of the extension project and the present building, in the surroundings of Halkopiha. 

The main building was constructed during 1905–1910 following the designs of architects Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen. The museum opened to the public in 1916. During 1995-2000 the main building was renovated by Architect Vilhelm Helander.  Granite, soapstone and plastered and clean brick surfaces alternate on the façades of the building. Vaunuvaja was constructed in 1914–1917 following the plans of Armas Lindgren. At the time the building functioned as a storage for trolleys, boats, and painting tools. It also functioned as an outdoor hall serving the needs of the museum’s exhibition presentations. In 1985-1987 architect Eero Raatikainen designed the conversion of Vaunuvaja into the National Museum’s conservation facility. In 2017, it was converted into workspaces by lighter measures. 

The basis for the renovation is to preserve their current architectural solutions; in the main building based on the renovation of 1995-2000 and in Vaunuvaja on the industrial appearance created for the conservation facility in the 1980s.   

Project info:

Location:Mannerheimintie 34, Museokatu 1, Helsinki 
Size:Main building 12 000 m2
Vaunuvaja 1 400 m2
Protection status:The buildings of the National Museum, the courtyard park and the wall surrounding them have been protected by the Decree on the Protection of State-owned Buildings (480/1985). (278/1965, 480/1985) in 18.9.1980. RKY site “Etu-Töölö district”. A new protection proposal is under way.
Original construction date:Main building 1905–1910
Vaunuvaja 1914–1917
Original architects:Main building Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren, Eliel Saarinen
Vaunuvaja Armas Lindgren
Principal designer:Jyrki Iso-Aho
Responsible building designer:Minna Lukander
Project architects:Mari Mannevaara, Nina Sevón, Jaakko Penttilä
Other team members: Okko Koponen, Meri Aurea Pfeiffer, Mira Kyllönen, Elina Skog
Photos:Helsingin kaupunginmuseo

In collaboration with A-Konsultit Architects and Vilhelm Helander, Juha Leiviskä, architects SAFA.

R. Roos. 1920–29. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.
Veljekset Karhumäki Oy. 1934. Helsingin kaupunginmuseo.