This autumn, the historic Bulevardi 31 is getting a new lease of life as 77 new Lumo homes will be completed within the building. The property consists of two buildings, called New and Old Chemistry, which used to house the Helsinki University of Technology’ chemistry department.
The red-brick Old Chemistry building was completed in 1899, and it was used as the University of Technology’s chemistry laboratory. The house was designed by architect Onni Tarjanne, who is known, among other things, as the designer of the Finnish National Theatre. The University of Technology’s oldest laboratory building was destroyed during the war, and it was replaced with the New Chemistry building in 1949. This building represents a simpler, modern style. The architect of this building was Johan Sigfrid Sirén, who also designed the Parliament House in Helsinki.
The building was last used by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. That was the time when Ilse Skog, a spokesperson and communications expert, worked in the building. We brought Skog along to see the apartments under construction and recount some of her best memories from Bulevardi.
Skog remembers vividly the view from her office: the windows opened to a beautiful view of the Hietalahdentori square. And when she looks at the building from Hietalahdentori square, Skog feels that it exudes strong energy, reminiscent of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
“Back when I worked here, this was a school for engineers, and most of them were men.”
Solemn and labyrinthine. These are the words that Skog uses to describe Bulevardi 31.
“When I left my office to go to some other part of the building, I felt like I should take a ball of yarn, tie one end of the yarn to my chair and then take the ball with me so that I could just follow the yarn on my way back! There are so many floors, corridors and basements in this place,” Skog says, laughing.
Plenty of old structures have been preserved in Bulevardi 31, such as doors, floors and corridor lamps. The iconic staircase has also been preserved, but it has been modified to meet modern safety requirements. During the renovation, special attention has been paid to respecting the history of the building and its atmosphere.
The cultural history of the building is also respected through the choice of materials in the apartments. In the apartments located in the Old Chemistry building, the kitchen has darker surface materials, while the kitchen colours in the New Chemistry building are lighter. The selected shades of colour emphasise the difference in atmosphere between the different parts of the building. The change in atmosphere also shows in the bathroom tiles. Some apartments also have new balconies with a view of the lovely courtyard.
Atmospheric homes available
Skog is happy to see Bulevardi 31 getting a new lease of life. She says the building was not really the best place for a school anymore, but she believes that the future residents will have good times ahead of them:
“This place is interesting and full of different details. The beautiful windows have good views in different directions. I particularly like the great common areas that have been created here. You certainly don’t have to be lonely while living here.”
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