Along with Villa Johanna (Laivurinkatu 25), Villa Ensi is one of two houses in Eira designed by architect Selim A. Lindqvist and built by businessman Uno Staudinger. The house was initially built by Staudinger as a private maternity hospital for the Rytkönen sisters, who were both nurses. The house was constructed after the birth of Staudinger’s daughter Ensi, hence the name. The hospital was converted into a residence in 1934.

Villa Ensi is representative of minimalist, Viennese-influenced art nouveau. It has been compared with Palais Stoclet, a private residence in Brussels designed by Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann. In the middle of the façade of Villa Ensi is a glass-roofed entrance, and the door is flanked by beautiful gypsum reliefs. Three sculptures sit in front of the building: Äitiyden ilo (‘Joy of Motherhood’), Jäähyväiset (‘Farewell’) by Harald Sörensen-Ring, and Taistelija (‘Fighter’) by Viktor Jansson. A small gazebo is located behind the house, facing a small park.

The adjacent Ensipuisto park is one of the original green areas in Eira. It is sometimes called ‘Bambi Park’ because of the Metsäkauris (‘Roe Deer’) sculpture situated there (Matti Haupt, 1957).

In the 1990s Villa Ensi was refurbished into an assisted living building for senior citizens.

Source: Art Nouveau in Helsinki – Architectural guide (Helsinki City Museum)

Location

Merikatu 23, Helsinki
60.1550933, 24.9413676

Images

The façade towards Ensipuisto park , Villa Ensi
The façade towards Ensipuisto park , Villa Ensi (© Matti Similä / HKM)
Merikatu street façade, Villa Ensi
Merikatu street façade, Villa Ensi (© Matti Similä / HKM)
Street façade, Villa Ensi
Street façade, Villa Ensi (© Matti Similä / HKM)
Street façade in the 1920s, Villa Ensi
Street façade in the 1920s, Villa Ensi (© HKM)
Main entrance in the early 1950s, Villa Ensi
Main entrance in the early 1950s, Villa Ensi (© Eino Heinonen / HKM)
"La joie de la maternité" by Swedish sculptor Harald Sörensen-Ringi, photographed in 1912, Villa Ensi (© Ivan Timiriasew / HKM)
"La joie de la maternité" photographed in 2018, Villa Ensi (© Hanna Tyvelä)
"Au revoir" by Swedish sculptor Harald Sörensen-Ringi, photographed in 1912, Villa Ensi (© Ivan Timiriasew / HKM)
"Taistelija (Fighter)" by Finnish sculptor Viktor Jansson, photographed in 1915, Villa Ensi (© Ivan Timiriasew / HKM)