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Towards a Conservatory Building

In 1928, the Helsinki Conservatory Foundation was established to promote the construction of Helsinki Conservatory of Music building.

R-hus på kvällen

‘The only thing missing from this Arkadia idyll is a cow strolling on a pasture.’

  • Uusi Suomi 23 October 1931

This is how the pseudonym Terttu described the Arkadia landscape in the Töölö district, which in the early 20th century mainly consisted of villas and working class lodgings. The first city plan for the Töölö area was drawn up in 1883, but it was never validated and the area remained unchanged.

At the turn of the century, a city plan competition was organised, and the city plan was validated in 1906. However, the plan was changed several times, and the general appearance of the area was modified to be more modern, further away from art nouveau to meet the classical ideals of urban planning. The final city plan was approved in 1917. The new look of the area was confirmed in the mid-1920s, when it was decided Arkadianmäki was to be the seat of the Parliament Building. The construction of the Parliament Building began in 1926 and it was completed in 1931.

The old document
Decision of the Helsinki City Council of 7 December 1927 to sell a plot along the Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu street for the Conservatory building . University of the Arts Helsinki / Sibelius Academy archive.

The Helsinki Conservatory (until 1924 Helsinki Music College and since 1939 the Sibelius Academy) had long needed its own building, as it had had to operate in varying spaces in different places since its establishment in 1882. At the end of the 1920s, the surroundings of the Parliament Building under construction was still waiting to be developed. In December 1927, the Helsinki City Council decided to sell the grass-and-bush-filled plot No 9 on Pohjoinen Rautatienkatu for building the Conservatory, as public construction projects in the area had been the topic of conversations in the art circles. The condition was that the plot should be built within five years.

In 1928, the Helsinki Conservatory Foundation was established to promote the construction of Helsinki Conservatory of Music building. The Foundation was tasked with acquiring funding for the building and taking care of it in the future. On 1 December 1928, the President of the Republic of Finland, Lauri Kristian Relander, signed the statutes of the Foundation, which stipulate in Article 1 that ’the intention is to ensure the construction of a Conservatory building and, in the future, to maintain it and, in addition, to develop and promote the Conservatory in other respects, insofar as it is enabled by the Foundation’s funds’.

Aerial view of the Parliament House
Aerial view of the Parliament building under construction and its surroundings in 1930. At the bottom of the picture is the empty plot of the Conservatory building, where the rock has already been extracted. Finnish Heritage Agency Picture Collections, Press Photo Archive, Otava.

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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