About

Category
Assembly buildings
Architect
Hyvämäki-Karhunen-Parkkinen Architects
Selections
Helsinki built through competitions
Tags
ballet competition glass Helsinki opera stage tile
Gross area (m²)
40000
Competition
1975
Completion
1993

The professional opera in Finland started in 1911 and between 1918 and 1993 it was housed at the Alexander Theater, after Tsar Alexander II. The building had been assigned to the Finnish Opera Company on a temporary basis until a new building would be erected. It wasn’t until 1933 when the first dedicated opera house in Finland was finally completed and inaugurated.

From the early 19th century onward, four different sites in Helsinki were proposed for the Opera House before settling on the final location on the shore of Töölönlahti Bay. In terms of architectural competitions, the big event of the 1970s was the two-phase open competition held in 1975–77. The winners Eero Hyvämäki, Jukka Karhunen and Risto Parkkinen laid out the complicated room programme in an “array of bars” of varying size.

It took 17 years before the building was finally completed, and with its plenitude of tiled and glassed surfaces, the overall expression primarily represents the architectural style of the 1980s.

Location

Helsinginkatu 58, Helsinki
60.182059, 24.9286571

Images

Finnish National Opera
Finnish National Opera (© Mika Lappalainen / City of Helsinki Media Bank)
Main entrance., Finnish National Opera
Main entrance., Finnish National Opera (© Susanne Salin / MFA)
Töölönlahti Bay and park side., Finnish National Opera
Töölönlahti Bay and park side., Finnish National Opera (© Mika Lappalainen / City of Helsinki Media Bank)
Foyer seen from the outside., Finnish National Opera
Foyer seen from the outside., Finnish National Opera (© Sakari Viika / Finnish National Opera)
Foyer., Finnish National Opera
Foyer., Finnish National Opera (© Raebiger / MFA)
Main stage., Finnish National Opera
Main stage., Finnish National Opera (© Voitto Niemelä / MFA)
Competition entry, floor plans., Finnish National Opera
Competition entry, floor plans., Finnish National Opera (© Dreams and comp(L)eted projects – 130 years of Finnish architectural competitions)
Competition entry, scale model., Finnish National Opera
Competition entry, scale model., Finnish National Opera (© Dreams and comp(L)eted projects – 130 years of Finnish architectural competitions)