The Harjannetie housing project was designed to be the gateway and landmark building for the new Viikinmäki area in Helsinki. It is situated at the southern entrance to the area, well visible from the passing highway towards Helsinki city centre. The area is located high up on rocky hills rising from the River Vantaa valley.
Harjannetie 44 Social Housing in Helsinki © Mikael Linden
The L-shaped building climbs from three to eight storeys, thereby making a reference to Viikinmäki’s characteristic steep and rocky ridge. Harjannetie is the main street with public transport connections to the city centre. The area has a very good infrastructure with the Maarianmaan puisto, the central park of the area, a school and community buildings as well as a courtyard with a playground all being situated in immediate proximity. The landmark building can be seen from a distance while also offering fine views to Viikinmäki and towards Helsinki’s city centre in the south.
Owing to the financing standards for social housing in Finland, the developer, the Helsinki Housing Production Department of the City of Helsinki, had to deal with a very tight budget. Nonetheless, the residential building with a gross floor area of 9,000 square metres provides 90 high-quality council flats. Apartment sizes range from 26 to 129 square metres and are assigned on the basis of social criteria. Most tenants live in single-person households.
Every apartment has a glazed balcony, some of which additionally have an open extension. The balconies add a sunny rhythm to the mountain-like building structure and expand the available living space. The glass enclosure makes the balconies usable throughout the year despite the cold and windy Finnish climate. On the eastern façade, on the contrary, bay windows afford views to different directions. Well-lit staircases connect the interior with the natural surroundings of the building. Common facilities for the tenants are accommodated on top of the building and include three saunas and two club rooms. From the large open-air terrace, the residents enjoy fine views to the central park and to the whole Viikinmäki area.
The façades are mainly finished with brickwork. “The grey-brown Finnish brick we chose as main façade material relates to the surrounding rocky terrain”, explain the architects.
The inhabitants moved into their new homes in the autumn of 2013. According to the management, the tenants are very satisfied with their new homes. The building received ‘The Building Rose 2013’ award. It was considered to be the best building completed in Helsinki in 2013.
The aesthetic of a building is based on the technical and design quality of the used building materials.