The workers’ housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd designed by Armas Lindgren and Bertel Liljequist is a unique example of early social housing production in Finland.

In 1916 Kone ja Silta Ltd expressed to the city of Helsinki its wish to build workers’ housing in the Vallila district of the city. The commission was given to Armas Lindgren and Bertel Liljequist, who had already designed industrial buildings for the same company. Their design used a large courtyard, a building type which, in the burgeoning urban planning ideology of the 1920s, was in favour in central Europe and the Nordic countries. Examples include the Hofs, or workers’ housing, of Vienna, and the governor’s housing of Gothenburg. In the original plan, the building was encircled by a three-storey building frame some 11 metres wide, with a castle-like entrance at the centre of each façade. The apartments consisted of either one or two rooms with a kitchen or a single room with a stove. The company was able to build only one quarter of the block; completing the remainder was left to the city of Helsinki. This was realised in two parts, in 1927 and 1929. In 1928 the Lindgren & Liljequist office broke up, and the project was overseen by Lindgren. In these later building phases, he developed different classical themes into varying wholes and diversified the ground-plans. In the Sammatintie road façade, Lindgren achieved a particularly handsome result. The block was finally completed only after Lindgren’s death.

Text: Juhana Lahti / 20th Century Architecture, MFA

Location

Somerontie 14, Helsinki
60.1973479, 24.9588517

Images

Courtyard, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd
Courtyard, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd (© MFA)
Street façade, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd
Street façade, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd (© Simo Rista / MFA)
Courtyard, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd
Courtyard, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd (© Asko Salokorpi / MFA)
Aerial perspective drawing, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd
Aerial perspective drawing, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd (© MFA)
Original drawings by Armas LIndgren and Bertel Liljequist, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd
Original drawings by Armas LIndgren and Bertel Liljequist, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd (© MFA)
Floor plans, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd
Floor plans, Workers’ Housing for Kone ja Silta Ltd (© MFA)