60 years old | Education has been forgotten in recent urban planning, says architect Simo Freese: “Let’s greedy too much floor space in the wrong places”

Simo Freese is one of the best experts in conservation repair and restoration in Finland.

In Finland Defenders of cultural environments are few and far between, download architect Simo Freese.

“This comes to the fore in the ongoing debate on the Land Use and Building Act. It seems that all the main parties in our country are ignoring the issue, if not even against it, even the Greens, at least here in Helsinki. ”

There is more to urban planning than just trade and transport, Freese recalls.

“In civilized nations, the city is also thought of as an art creation that is nurtured and improved from one generation to the next. It seems that this perspective has been forgotten in some recent projects, such as the planned reforms of the Hietalahti basin, Elielinaukio and Eteläranta. Let’s greedy too much floor space in the wrong places. ”

Should Freese decide, the oldest runways from Malmi Airport would be preserved in flight operations or as a multi-purpose park like the Tempelhof in Berlin.

“Malmi’s funk terminal and hangar would be a first-class restoration object, skillfully repaired, a mere attraction!”

Simo Freese grew up in a small industrial locality in Jokela, along the main line, in Tuusula. The parents were teachers, and the family lived in the school as was customary at the time.

“It was a one-of-a-kind noise village. There were a lot of children, and the school’s wood workshop and gym were at our disposal even in their free time, ”Freese recalls. His first paid job was freezing the school ice rink.

He went to high school in Hyvinkää. “Moving to Hyvinkää was a kind of cultural shock, and at first my average dropped. But luckily I got to the grain quickly.

Second cultural shock came against Africa in the 1990s. Freese worked Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komosen in the office when he was sent to Guinea to supervise the construction of the health station planned by the office.

“I wouldn’t have gone there if I had known how difficult it was.”

According to Komonen’s idea, three round African houses were built next to the Western hospital. Their walls were made of clay, the roof of bamboo and straw in traditional style.

“It’s a great building type, a perfectly ecological structure,” Freese estimates.

Freese had time to work in many well-known architectural firms before setting up his own office. According to him, competition work under the guidance of good architects is important and a great practice for learning the field.

Freese also served as a professor of construction history for 15 years Vilhelm Helanderin as an assistant, and gradually specialized in renovation construction.

“Ville is one of my most important masters,” Freese thanks.

Today, Freese is considered one of the best experts in conservation repair and restoration in Finland. For example, the renovation of the Lalluka artist’s home has received much praise. However, the work does not only concern the oldest buildings, right now he is also responsible for Kiasma’s repairs, and it also includes a meticulous study of the history of the buildings, and a lot of time is spent at the desk writing reports.

Restoration thinking has changed a lot in recent decades. Today, major structural changes are avoided, only the broken one is repaired and efforts are made to preserve the temporal strata as well.

“I don’t use the word renovation at all in my own work,” Freese laughs.

“Building historical surveys and restoration are expert work, and it feels crazy that the procurement law requires such to be put out to tender. At worst, according to the cheapest option, the design will result in repairs becoming insanely expensive. ”

Adapting new technology to old buildings is a difficult and demanding species.

“Sewers and water pipes take up more space than before. Sometimes new technology is placed too brutally indoors. The first battle is almost always about whether mechanical ventilation is suitable for the site to be repaired. ”

Freese believes that windows or doors made by a carpenter should not be replaced by industrial ones, but should be repaired. The importance of massive structures that bind and release moisture should be recognized.

“Before any repairs are undertaken, the technical side of the building needs to be examined very carefully. Likewise, the history of the building and the value of the architecture of the house must be assessed. ”

Freese lives with his wife Outi Freesen with Etu-Töölö Sven Kuhlefeltin in a 1930s house he has been involved in renovating. Already the entrance to the house is impressive: there is a fountain in the yard Viktor Jansson fish boy sculptures. The top floor has large, original, roll-up windows and handsome views.

Freeset has commissioned kitchen cabinets in the style of the era. There is a lot of art on the walls, among other things Rafael Wardin and Juhana Blomstedtin works. Freese has also done exhibition architecture for Ward’s three exhibitions.

Simo Freese

  • Born 1961 in Tuusula, lives in Helsinki.

  • Graduated as an architect in 1987.

  • Worked e.g. Käpy and Simo Paavilainen, Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen, Daniel Libeskind, Jan Söderlund and Sari Schulman’s offices and the National Board of Antiquities. Own office since 2006.

  • Design work e.g. Lallukka, Ainola, Meripaviljonki, Old Customs and Packing Room (to be completed at the end of the year), Vuojoki Manor, Kiasma (to be completed in spring 2022) and Suvilahti.

  • The family includes a wife Outi Freese and an adult daughter.

  • Turns 60 on Thursday, October 14th. It is its anniversary when traveling.


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