Art Nouveau in Helsinki – Part 2

There are a particularly large concentration of Jugendstil buildings  in the district of Katajanokka, in the streets behind the Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

Katajanokka is effectively an island, a peninsula cut off from the mainland by a short stretch of canal. Until the end of the 19th Century had been an undeveloped area just outside the main city but in the 1890’s as the city and port expanded, plans were drafted to develop the area. Warehouses and residential streets were included in the plan. The majority  were built during the first two decades of the 20th Century, when the fashion for Jugendstil  buildings was at its height. Fortunately most of the buildings were preserved during the redevelopment and renovation of the area in the 1970’s and 80’s.

The whole of one street, Louotsikatu, is lined with fine examples of residential buildings constructed in the style. Many of them are painted in bright earthy colours and feature distinctive windows, doors, motifs and other features where the architects have stretched their imaginations. No two buildings are the same.

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There were many other examples in nearby streets.

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Industrial and commercial buildings were also built in the Jugendstil style. There was one particularly good example of a a warehouse and office complex, which has been magnificently restored, that I particularly liked.

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In many ways it reminded me of some of the buildings designed by the Scottish architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Some of the motifs stencilled on the building were very reminiscent- of Mackintosh’s characteristic squares that he often included on the buildings and furniture that he and his wife, Margaret MacDonald, designed.

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An example of the Mackintosh like square motifs stencilled on the building

For further Information on Katajanokka and it’s architecture see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katajanokka

http://users.tkk.fi/huwu/archi/architect/pdf/Katajanokka_in_Jugendstil_Wave.pdf

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