A jewel of Finnish national romantic architecture
TEXT: MARI KOSKINEN | PHOTOS © HVITTRÄSK
Hvitträsk, completed in 1903, is a unique architectural piece of art situated in southern Finland, not far from Helsinki. Today, it functions as a museum open every summer, attracting design and architecture enthusiasts from all over the world.
“The story of Hvitträsk began when three famous Finnish architects – Eliel Saarinen, Herman Gesellius and Armas Lindgren – fell in love with the beautiful scenery at Lake Vitträsk and joined forces to build their own studio home in the national romantic style,” explains Pepita Ehrnrooth-Jokinen, service coordinator at the National Museum of Finland. “Every little detail of the houses, including the furniture, was specifically designed for Hvitträsk.” Despite some changes in the ownership, the original design, decor and furniture can be still found in the buildings.
Hvitträsk is situated just outside the metropolitan area, around 20 kilometres from central Helsinki. It can be reached by car, or you can take a train to Kauklahti station and a taxi for the approximately five-kilometre journey from the station to Hvitträsk. The museum is open to the public during the summer, when visitors have many different rooms to explore. Daily guided tours in three languages are also included in the ticket price, and Hvitträsk’s compact history leaflet has been translated into 44 languages. Groups can book their own guided tours, and during the winter, Hvitträsk opens its doors for bigger groups upon request.
The beautiful Hvitträsk gardens were restored in the 1990s to the original style.
In 1922, the northern wing burned down in a fire. “The new part was designed by Eliel Saarinen’s son, Eero Saarinen, and today functions as a private function room for small seminars and other events,” Ehrnrooth-Jokinen continues. “I also recommend a visit to our museum shop, where you can find unique souvenirs and great gift ideas.” There is also a cosy café open in accordance with the museum’s general opening times.
The Hvitträsk garden and woods are also popular among locals, who like to explore the carefully maintained, beautiful gardens and woodland, including a beautiful sandy beach. There are also interesting events at Hvitträsk, like the Chamber Music Festival in August, and guided tours on themes such as the garden, the furniture or the textiles.
2 May to 29 September 2019
Guided tours daily:
Finnish at 12pm
Swedish at 2pm
English at 3pm
Open for large groups upon request, also in the winter:
Hvitträsk and its gardens is a unique destination for fans of exceptional design and architecture. Guests also get access to the architects’ studio.