The accommodation and service facilities of the Helsinki Motorized Company barracks (1934-1936), designed by Martta Martikainen (later Martta Martikainen-Ypyä), were housed in a three-storey wing, with offices and a lecture hall in a second wing. The floor plan of the part housing the soldiers is based on a wide side corridor placed along the street side. The soldiers’ quarters face west, overlooking the barracks compound. Originally garages and a repair workshop were included in the barracks. The garages were accessed between two building volumes with curved walls.

On its completion, the Helsinki Motorized Company barracks represented a barracks type in which particular attention was paid to the soldiers’ hygiene conditions by placing sanitary facilities on each floor. It was the first “modern Finnish” barracks, and was also presented as such in the press. The barracks were a concrete manifestation of the design principles that the Ministry of Defence was aiming for in the design of new barracks; an example of the simultaneous high-quality implementation of the modernist form language and its design principles.

The “car boys” of the Car Battalion moved out of the barracks and in 2015 the buildings were converted into service apartments for the elderly. The former parking garage was converted for use as a local supermarket. The design work for the alterations and restoration was carried out by Parviainen Architects.

Helsinki Motorised Company Barracks is listed on the DOCOMOMO Finland registered selection of important architectural and environmental modernist sites.

Text: Anne Mäkinen / DOCOMOMO Finland

Location

Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu 33, Helsinki
60.176773, 24.916799

Images

View from east in 1937, Helsinki Motorised Company Barracks
View from east in 1937, Helsinki Motorised Company Barracks (© Aarne Pietinen Oy / HKM)
Elevation to Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu, Helsinki Motorised Company Barracks
Elevation to Pohjoinen Hesperiankatu, Helsinki Motorised Company Barracks (© Kari Hakli / HKM)
Lunch room interior, Helsinki Motorised Company Barracks
Lunch room interior, Helsinki Motorised Company Barracks (© Kari Hakli / HKM)
Staircase, Helsinki Motorised Company Barracks
Staircase, Helsinki Motorised Company Barracks (© Kari Hakli / HKM)