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The tall buildings of Finland

December 12, 2005
Finland is one of the only countries I know of where there is a law against building so-called skyscrapers. I have visited a few European capitals (Stockholm, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Riga) and there are no tall buildings there either (that I remember) – save for a few distinctive TV towers and church spires. Please quote if I am wrong – for any of you who have visited or live in the four cities I mentioned above…
Update on March 1, 2006: Thank you to "Passer by", who clarifed the situation in Finland for me, who stated that "the maximum height of buildings is determined by the city plans made individually by each city."
I have wondered why there has been a ban on tall buildings in Helsinki, because I thought that it was kind of strange. If you go back in history there is a zoning and urban planning rule in Helsinki that forbids the construction of so-called skyscrapers. (I am sure this has been reconsidered over the last few years, the pace of construction in the capital area is nuts and building designs are bolder than they used to be.) Currently the tallest structure in Helsinki is the Pasila TV Tower in Pasila at 146m. There are other TV towers and tall buildings scattered around the country, but for the most part, you will not see really tall buildings anywhere in Finland. Certainly not like in New York, Toronto, Montreal or other North American cities where the financial district is dominated by high rise buildings. Though Finland is famous for its architecture, it is also well-known for its lack of high rise buildings.
Let’s talk residential buildings…The tallest residential buildings in the capital area are not in Helsinki, but in Espoo. The double residential apartment buildings in Matinkylä have 15 floors. In nearby Kivenlahti are two other residential apartment buildings of 18 and 22 floors respectively. There are plans to build several high rise buildings in the capital area over the next few years – and most of them will be built in Espoo, with one being built in Helsinki and another in Vantaa. Let’s fast forward to the future or residential high rises in Finland:
  • The Matinkylän tornitalo (Matinkylä Tower House), planning has begun and at 100 metres and 27 stories, it will be Finland’s tallest building when it is completed.
  • In east Helsinki, Vuosaaren Cirrus is due to be completed in late 2006. At 92 metres and 26 stories, it will soon hold the title of Finland’s tallest building.
  • The Leppävaaran Maamerkki (Leppävaara Landmark) is in the planning stages. Located near the junction of Ring I and the Turku motorway in Espoo, it will be 20 stories high.
  • Also planned for Kivenlahti in Espoo is the Reimantorni (there is no translation for reima – so…), a proposed 18 story building slated for completion in 2007.
  • People in Vantaa are seeing the final construction of the building Kielotorni (Lily of the Valley Tower) in Tikkurila, at 16 stories it is slated for completion as I write this.
An interesting link about tall buildings in Finland is here:
2 Comments leave one →
  1. Diana permalink
    December 22, 2005 1:34 am

    I think the skyscraper phenomenon exists only in North America and in some cities in the far east (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore for sure)…. it’s always interesting to see Europeans gazing up at the buildings – at least we have something visually stunning to offer them in lieu of the ancient history we lack.

  2. Unknown permalink
    March 1, 2006 10:35 am

    In fact, there’s no law against skyscrpaers, instead the maximum hight of buildings is determined by the city plans made individually by each city.

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