Tag Archives: Helsinki

Open House Helsinki 2014

open house helsinki, event, Finland

Source: openhousehelsinki.fi

Today was the first day of Open House Helsinki, event where you get to visit buildings and locations you normally wouldn’t have access to. How exciting! Open House Helsinki is actually part of Open House Worldwide, a non-profit organization whose primary aim is to be an architectural education event.

So let’s have a look at the program in Helsinki?

UK-embassy. Image by Reetta Purontakanen

Friday looked pretty good. Access to the parliament library, the clock tower of Helsinki Railway Station, UK embassy, The House of The Senate... to name a few. I decided on the tour in Puu-Käpylä. Naturally missed the start and ended up touring the place by myself. I actually ran into the tour group but at that point I had seen enough, so I listened for a while and then went my way. In summa summarum, excellent selection.

I got home from my exhaustingly architectural day in Helsinki and decided to look what was on offer tomorrow.  And let me tell you, this is were things got ugly and that’s why I’m writing this post which is about to become a rant…

Open House Worldwide-participants are required to adhere to following rules:

1. The Open House event should maintain the core values of the Open House concept: to foster appreciation, understanding and learning amongst your own communities along with the value of architectural excellence and showcasing outstanding design, including quality contemporary design.

2. Free entry to all buildings taking part in the Open House event is mandatory, and no mandatory charge to be made to building owners to participate.

3. A not-for-profit organisation or charity should organise/host the Open House event in each city, whilst also being independent from party political ties. The organisation will further need to be part of or involved within architecture or the built environment sector.

4. The primary aim of Open House is an architectural education event.

Now, Open House Helsinki is sponsored by SKANSKA. A commercial building company. Known for its poor quality and strong liaisons with local municipalitie’s planning departments. Let’s see what kind of locations we have on offer on Saturday

Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Good but you can only join if you were one of the peeps who participated in the raffle for the tickets.

Tove Jansson‘s Helsinki. Fantastic! The creator of Moomins lived all her life in the Helsinki city center or its proximity and this tour takes you through her hoods. But since the tour is also in the guide, and you can do it by yourself, it doesn’t really adhere to the “not getting access to normally” promise.

The tower of Helsinki Lutheran Cathedral, Finlandia Hall and Helsinki Hall of Culture. First one required to win in a raffle to get in. Understandable. The latter two only accepts 25 and 30 peeps respectively in but hey, those 55 people get to see some rooms that normally aren’t open for public! And yes, they used exclamation marks to make this point. I’m going to assume that most of the rooms ARE open for public any other day too.

Can you see the sarcasm creeping in? Well, it’s about to get better. Let’s see rest of Saturday’s offerings. Remember, this event is about architectural education and “fostering appreciation, understanding and learning amongst your own communities along with the value of architectural excellence and showcasing outstanding design, including quality contemporary design.”

Kivistö-neighbourhood. A building site that’s going to be finished in 2015 for the annual home & architecture-fair. The interesting pitch for this place include “train station will be ready in 2015″ and of course the compulsory mention of the said fair.

Kivistö-train station. A building site. Yes, the same train station that was mentioned in the previous listing. Finished in 2015.

Kivistö Quartz Route. A building site. A pedestrian and bike road to connect Kivistö to whatever. I’m going to presume it’s going to be ready in 2015. But wait, there IS something ready. Some kind of artwork by Leonhard Lapin. Will be revealed officially tomorrow.

Kivistö Sonata. Almost not a building site. Apparently the first building in Kivistö-block to reach full height! There also “will be 9 buildings in total including on care home!” Lots of words about how there will be this and that kind of building materials used. Rest of the buildings in the block will be ready in 2015.

Kivistö Concrete Art walking tour. A building site. “The art theme realized in Kivistö, will in future be seen from Kivistö train station”. Probably ready in 2015. The tour ends with a visit to this artistic gem:

Image via liikennevirasto.fi

Kivistö City Center Tour. A building site. If you missed it, there will be an architecture fair in Kivistö in 2015. Which means this city center will be finished 2015. Or that’s what the boys of SKANSKA say on their website.

You know what this reminds me of? The Asterix comic “The Mansions of the Gods“, that’s what. Those who have read it knows the one spread with an image of the sales pitch tablet, which is made to advertise the mansions nearby Asterix’s village to attract wealthy Romans and where next to every advertised amenity are the words “in planning”.

This is exactly the same! Well not exactly. Kivistö totally has finished buildings! My mistake!

But no worries. There are still TWO sites for tomorrow that AREN’T KIVISTÖ! Shocking. I know. Let’s see if they are any better…

HEKA-building in Jätkäsaari. Finished building. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? The sad part is that it’s apparently ONLY finished building there because…

Tour of Jätkäsaari. A building site. “Jätkäsaari will have housing for 18 000 and work for 6000 people. There will be affordable housing as well as private ownership and every other ownership model in between”. Awful lot of “will bees” if you know what I’m sayin’? But not to worry, the main contractor for Jätkäsaari is SKANSKA.

So I’m going to leave you to ponder following things…Is Open House Helsinki honouring the spirit of Open House? Are these locations rare architectural gems?  Is Saturday’s program nothing but poorly disguised marketing campaign for SKANSKA? Strategically on a weekday when the potential buyers are off work?

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. The Sunday’s program is HERE. Only 4 locations. I guess SKANSKA ran out of steam.

P.P.S. Thinking about re-locating to Finland? How about Kivistö?




Recently Thrifted

Last Saturday was event called Siivouspäivä. That’s when you can set up your own little flea market stall anywhere you want (rather like Queens’ Day King’s Day in Holland). It’s purpose is to encourage people to re- and upcycle things. Me and my sister decided to sell our goodies in Kallio, Helsinki as we figured that it would be packed with people and thus we would have bigger chance on good sales.

We were right. I managed to get rid of bunch of fabrics I wasn’t so keen on anymore and managed to make profit. Well done me! I kept getting complimented on my selling skills all day long.

*waves like a Miss Universum-contestant, weeps and whispers I love you to the audience*

BUT it wouldn’t be a good market if I didn’t make some scores myself. Well, actually I went to Hietalahden Kirpputori too on Sunday and continued my shopping there, so not all these finds are from Saturday.

Left out a skirt (of which I will blog about another time), a vintage Christmas tray and some random bits and bobs. I splurged 5 euros on the Sanna Annukka-piece. It’s actually XS sized tube top and the pattern is one she designed for the candy company Fazer to promote their Marianne-candy. I’m a fan of Sanna Annukka and few years ago I wrote about her HERE. Iäm such a fan of this pattern. When they launched it, they had a Metro-magazine covered in the pattern. I hoarded three copies. Should have taken more so I would have plenty for Christmas-related crafts. Now they just sit in my bookshelf to be carefully admired once in a while.

Did you go thrifting? What did you find?

-Thrifty Finn-

Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters (To The Government) pt.2

Last Friday was the first of many demonstration against Finnish government and it’s many policies that have brought nothing but social and economical devastation. Demonstration brought together over 700 people. Don’t laugh. Finland is a small country population wise and because of its geographical size and long distances, basically only people in Helsinki and its surrounding areas have an ‘access’ to the right to demonstrate. Wouldn’t be a problem but Finland is very centralized country a la DDR and communist Russia and all the decision making and economic power is in Helsinki. I did some calculations and if China had had the same demonstration, there would have been over 178 000 demonstrating.

Puts the whole event in perspective, doesn’t it? Next demonstration will be on 23rd of May. I’m hopeful that there will be at least twice as many people. Here’s another article in English about the demonstration.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. More interpretations of the theme ‘Letter‘ can be found HERE.

To The Foreigners Living in Finland

mielenosoitus, demonstration, Helsinki, Finland, government,

Image via city.fi

“Today, on April 25th, there is a demonstration against the government in Helsinki, Finland. We want a transparent government and end to the corrution. We demand that the budget cuts that only affect those who already have nothing, will be cancelled. We want binding general referendums on citizen petitions that get more than 50 000 signatures. WE WANT FINLAND TO ADOPT ICELAND-MODEL!”

You may think this demonstration has nothing to do with you. But depending on your socio-economic status, your arrival here HAS HAD an effect on many things. Prices, employment, environment and justice system. You may think Finland is rich and that is true. Finland is, its people aren’t. I’m not saying that foreigners can’t move to Finland, I say more the merrier. BUT when you come here, you can’t just pick the icing from the cake, you have to take the bad too. Even if none of the bad things directly affect you, you have to show solidarity and understanding to the Finnish people who are not doing so well. There must be a reason why you left your own country and you were lucky, you were able to leave and find better life for yourself here. This is not a joke anymore, too many people in Finland CAN’T leave because they don’t have any money anymore. Just enough to survive from day to day and paycheck to paycheck.

Things are tough for many people in their own countries. I know from a personal experience that as a foreigner, you get excused many things because “poor thing didn’t know” and if I left Finland again to another country, let’s say France, I would beat many applicants even with my shitty French, just because I’m Finnish and WHITE. I also know that I’d be used as a weapon against native un-employed people. “See, she left her own country and could get a job, you are just lazy!!” How in this scenario I have deserved the job and the French person hasn’t? This happens in every country but now you live in Finland and you have to acknowledge your privilege in it here.

If you don’t believe that Finland is corrupt, please at least check the list of Finland’s human rights violations. Finland gets more conviction at the European Court of Human Rights than the other Nordic countries combined.

The demonstration leaves from the Säätytalo at 17.00 and it progresses to the Eduskuntatalo. Please, be there. Show your support and respect for Finnish people. More information HERE and HERE.

-Thrifty Finn-

Brunch at Yobot

Couple of weeks ago, I went to a street food fair in Helsinki, called Streat Helsinki. Clever, huh? I’m going to write about that in another post but while I was there, queueing for some meze, I got talking with a lady who turned out to be an owner of a frozen yogurt place in Helsinki. She made such a good sales pitch that I decided to go there the very next day!

As per usual…That day I had some hard time getting out of bed and I arrived there just as their kitchen was about to close for brunch. Luckily, they still allowed me to order as I was starving (I hadn’t eaten anything for over 12 hours in anticipation). They offer two kinds of brunches, a sweet waffle buffet or a bagel brunch. I ordered the bagel but as soon as I sat down and saw everyone else’s delicious waffles, I regretted my choice. Instaregret! The next cool app at the market! Hah.

yobot, helsinki, töölö, restaurant, frozen yogurt

While I settled to wait for the food, I got a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a cup of coffee and had some time to enjoy my surroundings. The place is very small. 3 small tables and one larger one in the middle but I didn’t get a claustrophobic feel about it. Later I found out that the smaller tables are there just for the brunch. Anyhoo, I didn’t have to wait long before I got this in front of me:

Salmon! Cream cheese! Melon! Greens! Natural yogurt! Muesli! I didn’t eat this, I inhaled everything. It was good! The delusional health conscious me decided to have ‘just’ the yogurt as dessert but it took total of five minutes to decide that I needed some of that frozen yogurt too…

yobot, frozen yogurt

Looks disgusting, doesn’t it? Just some Dominoes (cookie similar to Oreos), sprinkles and crushed nuts on the deliciousness that is frozen yogurt. Seriously, I could eat this by bucketfuls. TIP: Yobot is not too far (in fact just few minutes walk) from Töölön sairaala, Töölö hospital. If you have a friend there as a patient, a takeaway from Yobot would be a perfect present for the poor thing. I know I would have LOVED it while I was staying there for my op. Not that hospital food isn’t full of nutrients but somehow it just doesn’t hit the right spots…

yobot, frozen yogurt

The topping table and the price list. The way it works is that you get some fro-yo (see, I totally know the biz lingo) from the machine on the right and then you pile on the toppings. You pay according the weight. I know that foreigners balk at the price but Finnish taxation is insane and that’s actually pretty reasonable. But you don’t go there everyday so it’s okay to treat oneself every now and then, right?

Final verdict: I loves the place. When I was done eating and enjoying myself, I had a final chat with the owner (actually mother of the owners). The business was started by her American husband few years ago but who sadly passed away some time ago, leaving the business to the kids. When I got there, I thought that this doesn’t look like it was designed by a Finnish person and I was right. There’s something very upbeat about the place and the branding. I asked Jaana about the business side and how is it to run small business in Finland and she said that sometimes it can be very paperwork heavy and some things came as a surprise for them, such as having to apply for special permit to put some chairs outside during summer! We also managed to share some laughs about the culture shock you get when you return as a Finn back to Finland. Apparently we both were shocked that people are so white in here. And we all look the same!

Yobot has a Facebook and Twitter and they are located in Töölö, Runeberginkatu 54 A, 00260 Helsinki.

Thrifty Finn- The foodie