One of my longer trips to Finland was for 14 days in favourable fall weather. I was scheduled to teach a class in the Creativity Sustainability program. Immediately before and after that teaching, there was an opportunity to pick up some credits for my graduate studies. While this visit was busy with work, I also made some time for sightseeing, with the guidance of friends (and friends of friends).
My usual Aalto University campus (i.e. for engineering) is at Otaniemi in Espoo, on the west side of Helsinki. The class that I was teaching was at the school of arts and design (i.e. Taik), at Arabia Centre within Helsinki city limits on the east side.
The redeveloped factory facilities fit the feel for a design school. While about half of the Creative Sustainability students had undergraduate training in design, the other half were drawn from other studies from across the university.
As usual, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art was nearby my apartment, so I went over to catch a showing. With warm fall temperatures, there were skaters on the plaza.
On the Saturday afternoon, Heimo suggested we might meet up at Korjammo Culture Factory, a short walk north from the city centre.
On this weekend, the major event was an arts and craft market.
Finland is such a small country. Not only did Heimo meet someone he knows, but even I met someone I know!
On the Sunday, Jari and Kirsti took me farther afield to Hvittrask, the former studio and home of architect Eliel Saarinen. His son, Eero Saarinen, would spent his early childhood there, before growing up and becoming famous in the United States.
The tour took us upstairs, first, where the diningroom was lit with stained glass.
The sofa was built into the livingroom space, and clearly would be conducive for entertaining.
Downstairs, the great room had a corner where friends could talk.
The large hearth reminds visitors that Finnish winters can be cold.
The studio is well-lit by skylights, currently used to describe the history and work of the Saarinen family.
In the late afternoon, we saw a group of local guitar students and instructor setting up for an evening concert.
On the upper floor, the bedroom of Eliel Saarinen was set up with furnishings in the 1910s-1920s style.
Hvittrask is named for the “White Lake” beside the house.
Outside the house is a garden, with a gazebo.
We walked down the unpaved road to the lake.
Kirsti knows her mushrooms, and was on the lookout for a tasty species for dinner.
I would have to take her word for which varieties are edible, and which are poisonous.
As part of the summer school class I was attending, dinner was hosted at Haikaranpesa (Stork’s Nest) water tower.
The concrete structure gives and elevated view of Espoo, and nearby Helsinki.
Looking west, away from Helsinki, suburban developments are planned in with the natural forest.
Looking southeast, the Gulf of Finland is nearby, and Tallinn in the distance.
After dinner, I walked down to the main road, and found the bus back to the city centre.
I like to settle into a city for a few weeks, so that I have the time to explore beyond the usual tourist sights. Having friends of friends locally makes the visits more interesting.
daviding August 10th, 2012
Posted In: travel