House of Learned Societies was originally designed and built for the use of Lisa Hagman’s Private Classes school.

Teacher and the director of the school, Lisa Hagman (1882–1950) commissioned young architect Elsa Arokallio to design a five-story school building to Kirkkokatu, Kruununhaka, near the city centre of Helsinki. Lisa Hagman, as well as her aunt Lucina Hagman (1853–1946), who had originally established the private school, were active members of the women’s rights movement. It was natural to choose a female architect to design the new school building. Lisa Hagman’s Private Classes, representing Nordic Classicism, was completed in 1925. The gymnastics hall, also designed by Elsa Arokallio, was constructed already in 1922. It is located in the courtyard and has a red brick façade. Lisa Hagman’s Private Classes was one of the most significant works of Elsa Arokallio, who was among the pioneering female architects in Finland in the early 20th century.

In 1996 the building was refurbished, and since then it has been the House of Science and Letters. The principal architects of the refurbishment and restoration were Vilhelm Helander and Pekka Kivisalo. The classrooms were turned into meeting rooms of the scientific associations. The gymnastics hall is a lecture hall. A café is situated on the ground floor.

Source: Finnish Architectural Review 1/2000

Location

Kirkkokatu 6, Helsinki
60.1708271, 24.9576842

Additional media

House of Learned Societies
House of Learned Societies (© Wikimedia Commons)
Entrance hall, House of Learned Societies
Entrance hall, House of Learned Societies (© Simo Rista / MFA)
View from the vestibule, House of Learned Societies
View from the vestibule, House of Learned Societies (© Simo Rista / MFA)
Main staircase, House of Learned Societies
Main staircase, House of Learned Societies (© Simo Rista / MFA)
Lecture hall on the top floor, House of Learned Societies
Lecture hall on the top floor, House of Learned Societies (© Simo Rista / MFA)
Street view in 1926, House of Learned Societies
Street view in 1926, House of Learned Societies (© Eric Sundström / HKM)
View from the courtyard in 1926, House of Learned Societies
View from the courtyard in 1926, House of Learned Societies (© Eric Sundström / HKM)
Gymnastics hall in 1922, House of Learned Societies
Gymnastics hall in 1922, House of Learned Societies (© Eric Sundström / HKM)
Gymnastics hall in 1922, House of Learned Societies
Gymnastics hall in 1922, House of Learned Societies (© Eric Sundström / HKM)
Hallway in the late 1920s, House of Learned Societies
Hallway in the late 1920s, House of Learned Societies (© Eric Sundström / HKM)
Classroom photographed in 1926, House of Learned Societies
Classroom photographed in 1926, House of Learned Societies (© Eric Sundström / HKM)
View from the courtyard in the 1930s, House of Learned Societies
View from the courtyard in the 1930s, House of Learned Societies (© Pietinen Aarne Oy / HKM)
The building was planned to be demolished in the 1970s, House of Learned Societies
The building was planned to be demolished in the 1970s, House of Learned Societies (© Eeva Rista / HKM)
Street elevation plan, House of Learned Societies
Street elevation plan, House of Learned Societies (© Helander & Leiviskä Architects)
Section plan, House of Learned Societies
Section plan, House of Learned Societies (© Helander & Leiviskä Architects)
Ground floor, House of Learned Societies
Ground floor, House of Learned Societies (© Helander & Leiviskä Architects)