Helsinki YWCA House was built in the Kamppi district, which was in the early decades of the 20th century still mainly unbuilt. The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) purchased a plot from the Pohjoinen Rautatienkatu street with the help of its members’ donations. One of the main donators was chief executive officer of the Parviainen factory, Hanna Parviainen. She also purchased an apartment from the building. The building’s principal idea was to house accommodation and assembly spaces for women.

The six-storey Helsinki YWCA House was designed by Wivi Lönn and Aili-Salli Ahde. Lönn was in charge of the structure and elevations, Ahde designed the interiors. The building is one of the few Lönn’s works representing Nordic Classicism and even one of the final works of hers. She is mainly known as an Art Nouveau architect of the early years of the 20th century.

After its completion in 1928, Lönn moved to the YWCA with Hanna Parviainen and lived there for the rest of her life. The building was the second Lönn’s home she had designed herself, the first was the villa in Jyväskylä she lived the years 1911–1918.

Location

Pohjoinen Rautatienkatu 23, Helsinki
60.1698256, 24.9273483

Images

Street view from the south, Helsinki YWCA House
Street view from the south, Helsinki YWCA House (© Hanna Tyvelä / Archinfo Finland)
View from the south in 1928, Helsinki YWCA House
View from the south in 1928, Helsinki YWCA House (© Eric Sundström / HKM)
Assembly hall in the wartime, Helsinki YWCA House
Assembly hall in the wartime, Helsinki YWCA House (© HKM)