80 years old | Architect Kaarina Löfström condemns Helsinki’s current major projects: “Some kind of woodland syndrome prevails”

The new Museum of Architecture and Design would be most easily located in the Guard Manege, Kaarina Löfström says.

“Helsinki in large projects, it seems difficult to come up with action for huge floor areas, and some sort of woodland syndrome prevails. A sense of history is lacking in these major projects, ”the architect Kaarina Löfström download.

“I have taken the closure of Malmi Airport hard. I think the airport had a clear function that should have been respected. Now we are planning a residential area there and desperately looking for various artificial functions. ”

Kaarina Löfström is a barefoot Helsinki resident. He has lived in southern Helsinki most of his life. The parents came to Helsinki from the north, and the father made his career in state bread as a chamberlain.

“Dad loved sailing and got a lot of fellow architects under those signs. He was so interested in architecture that he transported us children in his spare time to explore different construction sites, ”Löfström recalls of his childhood and the awakening of his interest. For example, the rise of the Olympic Terminal was monitored.

“Early in my career came open offices. They were then abandoned. Multi-space offices are now being set up with varying workstations. I am worried about these multifunctional spaces with their coppers adapted for temporary quiet work, which are just dust collectors, ”says Kaarina Löfström.

His architectural studies Löfström started along Hietalahti Market Square, where the polytechnic operated before the Otaniemi campus was completed. Perhaps for this reason too, he has now followed the plans for the change in Hietalahti with interest and concern.

“The first surprise was the 7,000-storey office building in the best location and the diversion of vehicle traffic to the Uudenmaankatu tunnel in a way that closes the access from the port basin to the sea. The next surprise was the fivefold increase in building rights. How has such a big change been made without more attention and evaluation? ” Löfström wonders.

He is not very enthusiastic about the new plans of Katajanokka, Elielinaukio or Etelärannanka.

“Wood is a wonderful material, but the empire and Art Nouveau districts of Helsinki are a stone city, and wood construction is not suitable for that.”

New the Museum of Architecture and Design would, in Löfström’s opinion, be most easily located in the Guard Manege. Old museum buildings could be used as office and administrative space, eliminating the need for even previously planned underground connections.

Löfström reminds that the Guards manege has a great connection to Tähtitorninmäki and Eteläranta.

“The Guards Manege is a great building that should be converted for exhibition use. My idea came about after seeing the D’Orsay Museum in Paris, built in an old station building. But I haven’t received much response to my ideal, ”says Löfström.

After all, internationally, new museums have been successfully placed in old value buildings instead of new ones in recent decades. In addition to Paris, examples can be found in London, Milan and Stockholm, among others.

In addition to Löfström, he is also a former museum director Severi Blomstedt has proposed the placement of the Museum of Architecture and Design in the manege.

As an architect After graduating, Kaarina Löfström went to work in Valio’s technical department in 1967, where she initially designed shops and their interiors, as well as dairy production facilities. At that time, Valio had also later served as the CEO of the National Board of Construction Matti K. Mäkinen, which became an important partner for Löfström for many years.

Eventually, more than ten years of work at Valio culminated in the design of Pitäjänmäki’s head office. The head office was completed in 1978. This also continued Löfström’s focus on workspaces.

In the 1980s few women set up their own architectural firms and worked under their own names. Kaarina Löfström was an exception. He has received great assignments in his career and enjoys widespread prestige in his field. The to-do list is breathtakingly long and impressive.

In 2018, he was named an honorary doctor of Aalto University. His expertise is still used especially in the design of workspaces.

“Early in my career came open offices. They were then abandoned. Multi-space offices with their varying workstations are now being done, and teleworking has become more common. I am concerned about these multifunctional spaces with their coppers adapted for temporary quiet work, which are just dust collectors. Have they been thought of at all in terms of cleanliness and health? The spatial aesthetics have disappeared in the multifunctional spaces, although there are good exceptions, ”Löfström reflects.

“Flexibility and flexibility are important in the design of workspaces. The solution, I think, is the rule that the building should have permanent parts as well as modifiable parts from the beginning. This was applied at Valio, where the workstations were commissioned by a carpenter according to his own needs. ”

Löfström’s other major works include the Tikkurila Dye Factory Research Center in Vantaa, Innopoli 1 and 2 in Espoo, the University of Helsinki’s Viikki Science Park Biokeskus 1 and the renovation of the Forest Sciences House.

Kaarina Löfström

  • Born in 1941 in Helsinki.

  • Graduated as an architect from TKK in 1967.

  • Worked in Valio’s technical department from 1968 to 1980. Founded his own architectural firm in 1981. Numerous plans from schools and fire stations to research centers.

  • Most important works: Biokeskus 1 (1996), Viikki Science Park, University of Helsinki. Tikkurila oy’s research center (1988). The main building of the Otaniemi Technology Center is Innopoli 1 (1991) and Innopoli 2 (2002). State Office Building, Kotka (1994).

  • Taught work environment design at TKK’s Department of Architecture, Tampere University of Technology, University of Oulu and the University of Art and Design Helsinki.

  • Steel Structure Award 1991. State Prize for Architecture 2001.

  • Honorary Doctor of Engineering, Aalto University 2018.

  • The family includes two children and two grandchildren.

  • Turns 80 on Friday, July 2nd. Spend an anniversary in a family circle.



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