Lundqvist Commercial Building
The Nikolayeff car company building (later the Hankkija building) was the first important work by Jarl Eklund. The façades, of violet-brown Helsingborg brick, underline the rationalist approach. The Nikolayeff commercial building was, with the buildings designed by Selim A. Lindqvist and Elia Heikel, the earliest example of orthodox commercial architecture in Finland. The mansard-roofed car palace was a model for business building for decades to come. Its influence is visible, for example, in the entries for the competition for the Stockmann department store held a couple of years later. The ferroconcrete frame building was a real multipurpose building for motoring, containing, among other things, a sales display space, office spaces, a workshop, a garage, parking places, even a motor factory, and two tennis halls. The link with American car-centred business building of the time is obvious. The car-lift planned for the building was a new invention which, however, soon proved impractical as the number of cars grew. It is, indeed, notable that although before the First World War there were only around one thousand cars in the whole of Finland, the building had display space for more than one hundred cars and rentable car-ports for more than fifty. In this respect, the building project was either ahead of its time or over-scaled.
Text: Juhana Lahti / 2oth Century Architecture, MFA