The Foundation of the Finnish Museum of Architecture has sold the historic wooden Puistokatu Villa located in the Kaivopuisto park of Helsinki to the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation. The new owner of the villa will renovate the building and use it for non-profit public activities.
The villa is a protected building of high cultural and historical importance. As a result, the Foundation of the Finnish Museum of Architecture looked for a new owner that could retain its cultural role in accordance with the City of Helsinki detailed plan for the site. The City planned to lease the site for the new owner for 30–60 years.
The floor space of the villa building is 920 square metres, including the caretaker’s quarters of over 100 square metres. Apart from the caretaker’s quarters, the building is currently not suitable for residential uses.
The villa’s many uses date back to the late 1880s
The layers of the villa’s rich history can be seen in the building. The villa represents Kaivopuisto’s original building stock. It was designed by cartographer Carl Henrik Nummelin in 1881, and over one hundred years, the villa built up a significant roster of uses and occupants: the owners of the villa include the famed Finnish businessman, industrial counsellor Lauri Kivekäs and actress Ida Aalberg, and the villa was used as a school building by the Swedish-language school Svenska Samskolan and the French School.
The villa was leased by the Foundation of the Finnish Museum of Architecture in 1957. At that time, the building exterior continued to be marked by damage incurred during World War II, and it was debated whether the building should be demolished. The foundation saved the historic villa by purchasing it in 1959 for temporary use for its museum operations, while the foundation was looking for better facilities.
The museum’s galleries, archives, library and administration moved to their current location on Kasarmikatu in 1982. The museum’s exhibition administration stayed in the Puistokatu Villa, to move operations gradually to Kasarmikatu.
After 2010, the museum foundation conducted a survey of the building history and completed a renovation plan, after which some repairs were carried out. The property was vacated as all museum operations moved to Kasarmikatu. The museum had no financial resources to elevate the building to uses worthy of its cultural and historical legacy. As a responsible and sustainable solution, the museum looked for a new owner that could utilize the entire potential of the building and retain its legacy.
The new owner to honour the villa’s legacy
The museum and the City of Helsinki organized a bidding process for the sale of the villa property, looking for a new owner with both the financial resources and social interest to renovate the villa honouring its legacy and to activate the uses of the property.
The new owner, Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation, commits to renovate the building exterior without delay. The building also requires an extensive renovation before the villa can start a new era.
Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation is an independent foundation, founded in 2014 to support and to promote social welfare, culture, the environment and science, as well as related teaching and research.
The Museum of Finnish Architecture, founded in 1956, is a national specialized museum, which maintains a collection of Finnish architecture and serves as a source of expert knowledge for everyone interested in architecture and the built environment. The museum is operated by the independent foundation Suomen arkkitehtuurimuseon säätiö sr – Stiftelsen för Finlands arkitekturmuseum sr.