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Colourful Construction Stages

The construction phases progressed briskly despite minor difficulties.

Conservatory building in the construction phase. In front of the house, the scaffolding that broke off in a strong wind and crashed on the street on 4 January 1931.

”The storm tore down the scaffolding.”

  • Hufvudstadsbladet 6 January 1931

Building construction began during the summer of 1929, even though the final blueprints were not yet completed. At the same time, the Foundation’s Board of Directors worked to obtain funding. The construction office Rakennustoimisto Rakentaja Oy was chosen as the contractor out of 16 tenders received.

The topping-out ceremony took place on 18 October 1930. ‘The ridge pole of the Conservatory is now in place’, reported Uusi Suomi the next day. ‘In the midst of political hurricanes, a significant even took place yesterday, the topping-out ceremony of the “Temple of Harmony”, or to be precise, the celebration of the upcoming completion of the Helsinki Conservatory, the consumption of tea and coffee at the Parliament Building’s closest neighbour, under the protection of the concrete ceilings, in an undecorated, brick-walled restaurant, where scaffolding furniture surrounded a table heaped with treats and beautiful flowers.’

During the celebration, the new building was first presented to the students of the Helsinki Conservatory by Professor Melartin. The Finnish White Guard Marching Band also visited the event. After this, refreshments were offered to the workers of the building, and at 4 p.m. the Foundation Board had invited ‘approximately 150 people from nearby the Conservatory to a tea party and to explore the the new building.’ This was during the prohibition law, which is why tea and coffee were the main refreshments at any ceremony at the time.

Conservatory building in the construction phase. In front of the house, the scaffolding that broke off in a strong wind and crashed on the street on 4 January 1931. However, no one was injured in the accident. The windows show the flues of the drying stoves.
Conservatory building in the construction phase. In front of the house, the scaffolding that broke off in a strong wind and crashed on the street on 4 January 1931. However, no one was injured in the accident. The windows show the flues of the drying stoves. The Finnish Heritage Agency Picture Collections.
Close-up view of the collapsed scaffolding.
Close-up view of the collapsed scaffolding. The men in white trousers are the owners of the Arkadia Art and Frame Company, located next door to the Conservatory; Väinö Linnonen on the right and Einari Soinila next to him. Children in the foreground are Linnonen’s children Pirkko (right) and Pentti. Pirkko Linnonen later studied song and piano playing at the Sibelius Academy. Pirkko Linnonen-Miettinen’s personal album.

On 4 January 1931, the scaffoldings collapsed from the height of the entire building on the Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu street side due to a strong wind gust. Luckily, there was no one working on the scaffolding at the time, and the only person waking on the street managed to get out of the way in time. In other words, there were no casualties.

Just a couple of days after this a fire broke out in the building. The fire had managed to spread during the evening from a drying stove onto construction waste. However, the fire made no damage, as ‘the fire brigade extinguished the fire in no time at all with its carbonic acid hose’.

In March 1931, the board of directors of the neighbouring house approached the Conservatory Foundation due to smoke damage. The residents of the neighbouring house complained that the smoke from the new house carried to them and caused nuisance. The problem was fixed by raising the chimneys of the Conservatory building.

Menneisyyden muistia tulevaisuutta varten

Tässä blogissa Riku Hämäläinen kirjoittaa Taideyliopiston muistitietohankkeen vaiheista. Hankkeen tarkoituksena on kerätä entisten ja nykyisten opettajien, oppilaiden ja muun henkilökunnan muisteluita taideopetuksen historiasta, arjesta, toiminnasta, sattumuksista, jne. tulevaisuuden tutkimuksia varten. Filosofian tohtori, dosentti Riku Hämäläinen toimii Historiafoorumin yliopistotutkijana. Hän johtaa muistitietohanketta, johon kuuluu niin uuden aineiston kerääminen kuin jo olemassa olevan arkistomateriaalin saatavuuden parantaminen.

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