House stories

Skyscrapers offer postcard-like views

The view from the top of the Majakka skyscraper in Kalasatama is so spectacular that photographer Janne Hirvonen got himself a special permit to take photos on the roof of the building. Lumo One is currently being built next to Hirvonen’s home, and the enthusiastic photographer has been able to observe its construction.

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What made you want to live in a skyscraper?

For me, the view was definitely the number one thing. I’ve always dreamed of living in a place from which you can see far away. I live on the 12th floor, but, since the house is located on top of the REDI shopping centre, the apartment is actually much higher than the 12th floor of a regular building.

I was also interested in the ease and effortlessness of living in a skyscraper. All services are located downstairs, and the shops are just one elevator ride away, as they will be for the new Lumo homes being built right now. It’s been fun to imagine that even if I were to run out of pepper while cooking, I could just go pick it up from the grocery store.

Why did you choose Kalasatama as your home?

If you live in a skyscraper, other services are also just an elevator ride away. I work in Kamppi, which I can get to in less than 10 minutes by metro from downstairs. My building’s common areas are very nice, but there are also other reasons why I like living in Kalasatama. The services and transport connections work well, but nature is also nearby. Mustikkamaa, Korkeasaari and Kivinokka are all within walking distance, and they have all quickly become some of my favourite places.

You are photographing views from the skyscraper for an Instagram account called @majakanvahti. What inspired you to start taking photos?

Shortly after I moved in, I noticed that I tend to keep an eye on things such as changing weather phenomena from my home. My home has a direct line of sight to places like Suomenlinna, and it has been fun to see how different the sea view can be in winter and summer. However, the building’s roof terrace offers an even better view.

As a Finn, living in a skyscraper feels unique, and I soon discovered that other people were also interested in my photos. My Instagram account’s follower count has grown surprisingly fast, and now the account has 4,000 followers. Many followers have commented that following the account makes you feel like you’re living in a skyscraper.

You also take a lot of photos on the roof of the skyscraper. What does it take to snap photos from the roof?

The roof offers breathtaking views, as you can get a clear view of your surroundings in every direction. However, accessing the roof is not so easy. I have a special permit from the housing company’s board to go there, and you always need to wear a safety harness when you are on the roof. I take pictures on the roof every few months, as long as the weather allows. To give an example, I cannot go to the roof if it’s windy. Despite the challenges, taking photos on the roof is always rewarding.

How does it feel to be on the roof of a skyscraper?

There are no safety barriers on the roof, which allows an unobstructed 360-degree view over the sea and the capital region. That place has an entirely different kind of feel. However, I don’t recommend going there if you have a fear of heights.

Watching the seasons change has been interesting. It has been perplexing to see how in December the sun set behind the city centre and the Cathedral, but now it sets all over the city. In summer, the northern sky stays light through the night.

How far can you see from the roof of the skyscraper?

The horizon is about 40 kilometres away in the middle of the Gulf of Finland, but, if the sky is clear, you can see the lights of the Tallinn TV Tower 80 kilometres away. Sometimes Tallinn’s other lights can also be clearly seen in the form of a mirage. I’ve seen tall thunderclouds all the way in Central Estonia, which is about 200 kilometres away.

What has taking photos from such a height taught you?

Living in a skyscraper, I’ve started monitoring weather phenomena in a completely different way than before. I’ve had a lot of aha moments about how clouds form and weather fronts meet. I can also observe the formation of weather from my own apartment, and I often get the best weather forecast just by looking out the window.

The Lumo One skyscraper is currently being built next to the Majakka skyscraper. Have you been able to observe its construction?

I can’t see Lumo One from my own apartment, but I have been able to watch its construction from the roof terrace and the roof. Several tower blocks will be built next to my building, so it will be exciting to see what kind of area this will eventually become.

The construction of the Lumo One skyscraper and other tower blocks can sometimes look quite extreme, especially when construction workers are attaching facade elements outside the building. The construction workers must have nerves of steel to be able to work at such heights. Lumo One seems like an interesting building. If I was looking for a rental apartment in this area, Lumo One would surely be my first option thanks to the fact that it offers some of the best views of the city.

Learn more about the magnificent Lumo One skyscraper and its future homes

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