I like stairs – they are the single most beautiful architectural element in my opinion. Helsinki offers a great selection of stairs. They are all in buildings interesting also from outside, but behind the fascinating facades lies the real treasure. Here is my top three.
1. Kiasma, the museum of contemporary art
Kiasma was designed by North American architect Steven Hall and built in 1998. It is said to be the first public building in Helsinki designed by a foreign architect for more than 110 years. First came the Bank of Finland in 1883 designed by German architect Ludwig Bohnstedt, who had won the first ever international architectural design competition organised in Finland in 1876, and then came Kiasma. The entrance of Kiasma is spacious and alluring, but the most interesting twist you can find at the back – the stairs.
2. Porthania, University of Helsinki
Porthania is the first public building in Finland made complete out of prefabricated concrete elements. It was designed by Aarne Ervi and built after the wars in 1957. The building has many charming details, as the revolving doors, skylight windows – and light and airy staircase. Next to the stairs you can find also lifts, the first ones in the University of Helsinki meant for use of pupils as well. Still, I recommend you to take the stairs.
3. Kaisatalo, University of Helsinki
Kaisatalo is a brand new building in the centre of Helsinki opened to public this autumn. It houses the huge collection of books of the central library of the University of Helsinki. Anttinen Oiva architects won the architectural design competition organised in 2007 with their proposed design called “Avaus”, opening. The interiors full of light offer different places to read and study with spectacular views. In the center of the building you can find my third favorite stairs.