Helamaa & Pulkkinen (Jarmo Pulkkinen) | Helsinki, Finland | 1989
Image of Paciuksenk...
Tower facades.

ArchitectHelamaa & Pulkkinen (Jarmo Pulkkinen)
AddressPaciuksenkatu 4 (near intersection w/Tukholmankatu)
Building TypeTower
Number of Dwellingsna
Date Built1989
Dwelling Typesstudio, 1 & 2 bdrm. flats
No. Floors5
Section Typeflats
Exterior Finish
precast concrete panels, glass
Construction TypeRC frame
Ancillary Servicesbalconies

Three freestanding towers are sited in a stepping, oblique arrangement along a busy street on a hilltop overlooking a landscaped sports park. Set back from the street by a open parking area, the towers, while separate, form an almost continuous, opaque wall of dwellings revealed only by small windows and the recessed, vertically glazed entry and stair. Thus closed on the north and east, the stepped blocks open expansively to the south and west where the main living spaces of each dwelling open to balconies, glass doors and windows and glazed solariums overlooking a picturesque natural setting immediately below the buildings. The more-or-less square plan, is notched on the north with a central diagonal stair, which provides access to the typical floor where there are four different-sized apartments

Constructed of the pre-cast concrete panel system used in most new Finnish housing, the building has a precise mechanical quality and finish which is relieved by panels of green ceramic tile at the panels between widows, at some corners and the sides of some balconies. The ceramic panels provide a level of formal and decorative order which provides relief from the pristine severity of the prefabricated concrete. Balconies on the south and west facades are detailed as independent structures, attach to the main body of the building, and are independently supported. Floor to ceiling glazing is used at the balconies which, along with the glass and steel balustrades and the zones of vertically contiguous glass solariums, contribute to the impression of an open architecture; crystalline, constructivist, transparent The apartment at the top floor on the corner is recessed creating a larger terrace and an overhanging roof with exposed framing further accentuating the spatially expansive quality of the park side of the building. Although the freestanding tower as the model of residential building has been much maligned, certainly, some sites preclude more conventional building types such as courtyards, row houses, or perimeter blocks. Similarly, the continuous stepping forms of building popular in the 1960's especially in the French and German building experience would have presented a spatial barrier between the road and the park below. In this circumstance, with a very restricted but opportunistic site, the small towers, in the chevron arrangement could hardly be a better solution.

Museum of Finnish Archtecture, Helsinki-Espoo-Vantaa; Architecture of the 1990's, Helsinki, 1995, p. 9.

Finnish Architecture Review, 7-8, 1991.

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