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Tracing the building traditions of the Finnish welfare state
Built Welfare (Rakennettu hyvinvointi) examines and assesses post-war environments
The Built Welfare themed projects examine the environments and buildings of the late 20th century. The themed projects look at the phenomena that led to their creation, such as urbanisation, changes in lifestyles and reformations in health care and education.
At the time the Finnish welfare state was being developed
- there was a desire to make public services available throughout the country, to all people regardless of age
- new residential areas were built, along with adjacent day-care centres, schools, sports venues and health centres
- the volume of building was unprecedented
- new designs were experimental and bold.
The themed projects look into the goals and values of the welfare state upon which the contemporary building work was based. Many topical changes are targeted at the environments built during the latter half of the 20th century. It is a part of our mutual heritage, and we need to decide how we wish to preserve it.
Read more: Constructing the Finnish welfare state since 1945
The Built Welfare themed projects
- to support the debate on the values of the welfare state buildings and the means to preserve them
- to increase the valuation of the late 20th century built environments as part of our cultural heritage.
From primary school to comprehensive education – Finland’s schools from 1950 to 1980Within a period of three decades, hundreds of schools were built in Finland in order to make free and equal education available to all. The school became a prominent public building in its neighbourhood, and education became a key factor behind the success of the welfare society. The themed project ”From primary school to comprehensive education” publishes an overview of the changes that occurred in school architecture in Finland from 1950 to 1980. In support of decision makers, planners and municipalities, the site presents good examples of renovated school buildings as well as examples of their best practices. The website koulurakennus.fi is published in Finnish.
Health for all – building the national health care servicesThe national health care services in Finland were built during the late 20th century. The state wanted to make equal services available to everyone, regardless of their place of residence or wealth. As a result of this work, the average life expectancy among citizens increased by 20 years. The themed project examines the most central health care building types and reveals why, how and where they have been built and what they were like at the time of their completion. These studies paint a comprehensive national picture of the content-related and social goals as well as the typical attributes and characteristics of the building types. The building type studies have been published in Finnish.
Sports and recreation areas In Finland, people have always moved about in unspoilt natural environments, but it was only after urbanisation that the notion of leisure exercise and the development of sports facilities took root. Recreational and sports environments have become an essential part of our everyday living environment and built landscape. This themed project studies and analyses recreational environments and highlights their significance both in terms of sports and everyday exercise and recreation. A publication by the themed project, Liikuntaympäristöt kulttuuriperintönä – opas arviointiin (‘Recreational environments as cultural heritage – An evaluation guidebook’, 2013), has been published in Finnish.
Changes on the campus – analysis of new university environments The social significance of information and universities increased after World War II. New universities were built throughout the country. They were wide undertakings and interesting targets also in terms of the international sphere of architecture. Following the principles of systems architecture, they were built to resemble a city. The design process and building projects changed the practices of public building and promoted the breakthrough of prefabrication in new office buildings. The analysis ‘Muutoksen kampukset’ (‘Changes on the campuses’, 2011, published in Finnish) focuses on the new university areas created as a result of the structural changes in the system of higher education in the 1960s.
Built welfare as the work of city architects City architects had a visible role in reconstruction, zoning growth and construction planning during the latter half of the 20th century. This themed project has charted information on city architects’ work in various parts of the country. It is important to highlight the significance of their work in regard to their respective city’s identity and development, the increased information about familiar locations as well as promotion of the acknowledgement of these values in land use planning and building restoration.
Parishes build for communitiesThe Evangelical Lutheran Church
strengthened its role in society and the everyday life of its
parishioners. By erecting small churches, community centres and parish
halls the church created a place for itself in residential areas. The
parishes’ investment in the quality of the architecture and environment
is evident also in the design of funeral chapels as well as their
interiors and artworks. The study Evankelis-luterilaisten seurakuntien
siunauskappelit 1917-2000 (‘Evangelical-Lutheran Funeral Chapels
1917-2000’, 2015, published in Finnish) analyzes the features and
functional aspects of this building type and provides an overall view of
this phenomenon in congregational buildings.