The Karelian House
The Takaharju sanatorium in Punkaharju in eastern Finland, by Onni Törnqvist (later Onni Tarjanne), was Finland’s first tuberculosis sanatorium. Its site, a place of natural beauty atop a ridge bordered by water, was ideal in terms of both geography and climate. On the basis of the demands of the latest treatment methods and his own visions, Törnqvist designed a building which was in its time conspicuously simple and clear. Sunlight and warmth were considered essential for treatment. For this reason the building’s long façade, where the wards are located, opens toward the south-west. The building frame was, for reasons of heating economy, built entirely of brick. The central building and the wards were linked with open, light-framed open-air wings, creating a pavilion-like impression. The T-shaped ground-plan of Takaharju differed from the semi-circular models found among German, Swiss and Swedish sanatoria. Tarjanne particularly admired the colourfully decorated but at the same time pared-down buildings of the Austrian architect Joseph Maria Olbrich. The polished details and mosaic floors reveal Olbrich’s influence.
Text: Juhana Lahti / 20th Century Architecture, MFA