Of the residential areas built in the recent decades, Pikku Huopalahti is the most colourful. Residential development plans for the Pikku Huopalahti area were already included in Eliel Saarinen’s plans for the Munkkiniemi–Haaga districts and in his greater Helsinki plan from the beginning of the 20th century. However, as the soil is mainly clay, building was not economically viable until the 1980s and 1990s.

The City consciously steered the planning of Pikku Huopalahti because it wanted varied and colourful architecture. Neighbouring buildings were to be designed by different architects. The single architectural requirement was that white and grey were not allowed. In fact, the area is the complete opposite to the grim suburban concrete housing estates of the 1970s.

The focal point of the area is a terraced building located on a small knoll, which embodies the objectives of the Pikku Huopalahti area: joy, exuberance and colour. The v-shaped layout of the building, with its playfully varied features, grows gradually taller towards its 16-storey central section, where the two arms of the V meet. Some of the apartments have large roof-top terraces with trees. The top floor of the building also accommodates a day-care centre and a shared sauna with impressive views.


Punamäenpolku 1, Helsinki
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Terraced building block in Pikku Huopalahti
Terraced building block in Pikku Huopalahti (© Museum of Finnish Architecture)