HS Helsinki A shopping center that was “thoughtful, finished and of great environmental value” is being demolished in the shop – Pictures show the harsh fate of the shopper

The demolition of the Puotila shopping center began after a long procrastination. The pictures show how the classic building is being destroyed.


The bucket of the demolition excavator hits the wall, removes the screaming metal panel, and gently lowers it to the ground.

Another small piece of Puotila’s history disappears.

The story of the mall, which has served residents for sixty years, has come to an end as the long-awaited demolition of the mall began on Monday.

Helsingin Sanomat visited the Puotila shopping center. What does it look like now? What did it look like there before?

The demolition excavator, named Ursula, demolishes the old shopping mall piece by piece. The work is estimated to take a couple of months.

The walls of the mall are currently accentuated by graffiti paintings.

In Finland the golden age of mall architecture began in the mid-1950s. At that time, the Helsinki Spatial Planning Committee prepared a report on where shopping centers would be needed.

The committee emphasized that the suburbs should be self-sufficient. Shopping malls were considered a good solution as they made life easier for residents: everything would be available from the same place. Shopping malls should be located near the highway adjacent to the suburbs.

During the decade of enchantment, many suburbs got their own shoppers: Erätori rose to Herttoniemi in 1956, and Roihuvuor also got its own center in 1959. Shopping malls were also built in Kannelmäki and Pohjois-Haaga in the 1950s.

Shopping malls in Helsinki in particular were designed by an architect Erkki Karvinen. In addition to Kannelmäki, the imprint of his hand could be admired in Kulosaari, Konala and Maunula, among others.

And in the store.

Puotila shopping center photographed in the 1960s.

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Erkki Karvinen were Karelian men. He had been born in Vyborg to newly independent Finland in 1918. As a student, he had time to write about the Finnish lyceum in Vyborg during the wars in 1938.

As an architect, the young man started a reputation Alvar Aallon in the office in the 1950s. The style of architecture of the era included strong functionality.

Karvinen founded his own office in 1953. In the same year he graduated from the Helsinki University of Technology.

For some reason, the shopping center projects came into Karvinen’s arms. Perhaps he first successfully designed one, the reputation rushed, and more orders began to come.

Most obviously the man liked his job. The architects considered the new forms of shops and shopping malls to be positive innovations – after all, the shops could no longer fit on the street levels of ordinary apartment buildings – and they were aptly challenged.

In total, Karvinen designed at least 11 shopping centers in Helsinki and Vantaa.

One of the most significant was the Puotinharju shopping center, or Puhos, which, when completed in 1964, was Finland’s largest shopping mall.

Read more: Puhos, embraced by immigrants, is a time travel to the 1960s, and it is not going to be demolished – “There is only something new everywhere in Helsinki”

A shopping center on the corner of Klaavuntie and Rusthollarintie photographed in 2004.

Major some of the shopping malls built in Helsinki in the 1950s and 1960s followed similar architectural solutions: the shopping malls were built on corridors around the central courtyard.

In general, shopping malls were a major upheaval compared to the old stone-foot shops, which served instead of self-service. Finland’s first self-service store was not opened in Finland until the late 1940s.

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Shopping malls quickly became places to spend time and hang out. For example, the Kannelmäki shopping group was called Kannelklubi, and members of the club were required to have a membership card. The oars were the centers of the suburbs.

This was also the case in Puotila.

The mall, completed in 1961, had eight separate buildings with a common flat roof. The shopping center, designed by Karvinen, was described as low and streamlined and was built around an atrium courtyard.

The materials chosen emphasized gestureless architecture.

Over the years, the buildings have been expanded and connected to each other.

The demolition of the Puotila shopping center is handmade, as all materials are sorted and recycled.

The mall’s mailboxes are smeared with graffiti.

Now It looks inconsolable in a shopping mall.

Graffiti covers the walls, the windows have been broken. Used graffiti paint cans and beer cans are hanging in the country – someone has enjoyed a deserted shopping mall.

The demolition contract for the mall is expected to last until the end of March.

Demolition is almost manual, as the old materials in the mall are sorted carefully.

When the demolition work is completed, the construction of a residential apartment building on the same site will begin. The shopping center will be replaced by the new 6- to 8-storey residential apartment building of the real estate investor Kojamo’s subsidiary Lumo, on which stone business premises will be built.

There will be a total of 113 apartments in the shopping center.

The shopping center will be replaced by a residential apartment building, on the stone foot of which retail premises will be completed.

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How the mall ended up in such a sad state?

At some point, it was time that drove past the old malls.

Perhaps the decay of the mall began with the recession. Bank branches were closed and post offices closed. Flea markets, bars and pizzerias entered the emptied premises.

Shopping malls should have been renovated to be more modern. Renovation should also have been done. To meet the needs of supermarkets, facilities became cramped, and perhaps even larger shopping malls were built nearby to absorb even small customer flows.

In the 1980s, the giant shopping center in Itäkeskus became a challenger to Puotila. Maybe it was ultimately a death blow to a small suburban monastery.

The interior of the mall is no longer traded.

There are trees wintering in the mall’s courtyard that are likely to have to be felled under the new building.

Store space in recent years, the mall operated an R-kiosk, a grocery store, a hairdresser, a florist, restaurants and pubs.

Even the terrace of the last bar is now crumbled and broken. Soon there will be only a large litter left.

According to the Helsinki City Museum, the Puotila shopping center represented shopping centers that were very well thought out and finished in terms of architecture, well preserved or of very significant environmental value.

The sources used are Karitta Laitinen’s research Helsinki Shopping Centers – New, Modern and Lost (2012) and Sari Sareston, Anne Salminen and Mira Vierton’s study Ostari – Lähiön sydän (2004).

Read more: The shops of the shop store in Puotila are as empty as in the Soviet Union – the founder of the bar waiting for the demolition man is longing: “The home feels empty”

Read more: What is the oldest shopping mall in Finland? Test your knowledge of shopping malls in the HS quiz

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