Kaarina and Jaakko Laapotti, The Central Church of Kouvola, 1977. (Competition 1971)


The Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki is set to bring the 1970s to life this spring with two exhibitions, a book, and an outreach programme. The exhibits aim to shed new light on the architecture of the controversial decade and explore the ideologies and social progress that guided the work of architects at the time.

The main exhibition, titled "Concrete Dreams – And other perspectives on 1970s architecture," will showcase the industrial, system architecture that emphasized repetition and uniformity, as well as the grid pattern that expanded in different directions.

The exhibition invites visitors to experience the spirit of the 1970s and imagine what a well-equipped suburban home built of prefabricated concrete elements with adjoining playgrounds felt like for its first residents. It also highlights gems from the 1970s of different building typologies, including theaters, town halls, university buildings, churches, factories, and water towers.

The exhibition will challenge visitors to think about the value of these buildings in our environment now that they have reached an age when they require renovation. The exhibit showcases the diversity and pluralism of the architecture of that time and continues the Museum of Finnish Architecture's series of exhibitions exploring the architecture of past decades, this time reaching the 1970s.

The exhibit will be open from May 17, 2023, to October 15, 2023, and has been curated by Petteri Kummala, the Museum of Finnish Architecture's deputy head of information services and research, Jutta Tynkkynen, the museum's curator of exhibitions, and Anni Vartola D.Sc. (Tech.) senior lecturer in Architecture at Aalto University.

The Museum of Finnish Architecture Studio will also host an exhibition called "A Diverse Decade – Posters from Architecture Exhibitions of the 1970s," showcasing the impressive poster graphics in the museum's collections. Between 1970 and 1979, the Museum of Finnish Architecture organized an incredible eighty exhibitions on various themes, and the exhibition posters invite visitors to explore the aesthetics of the time and what kind of topics were considered worthy of an architecture exhibition.

In addition to the exhibitions, a book titled "Murrosten vuosikymmen – Suomen arkkitehtuuri 1970-luvulla" (A Decade of Upheaval – Finnish Architecture in the 1970s) will be released, highlighting the meanings and key phenomena related to the built environment of this "forgotten decade." The book's scholarly articles are written by Minna Sarantola-Weiss, Kirsi Saarikangas, Ranja Hautamäki, Julia Donner, Juhana Lahti, Jorma Mukala, Harri Hautajärvi, Essi Lamberg, Maire Mattinen, and Anni Vartola. The book has been realized with funding from Foundation for Quality of Construction Products.

Overall, the Museum of Finnish Architecture is offering an exciting opportunity to experience the architecture and visual culture of the 1970s, offering insights into the era's design ideologies and social progress.