Architecture Spotting In Helsinki

Helsinki is layered with interesting architecture from different eras ranging from Jugend castles to post-modern gems.

Graphic designer and Helsinki resident Mark Tarnashinski has been exploring the city and illustrated some of his favourite apartment buildings. We sat down with Mark to discuss his project and the city’s architecture.

– What inspired you to do this project and how did you select the buildings?

There are places around Helsinki that made me feel comfortable or somehow became memorable in their particular space. This mostly depends on urban planning, but still building itself makes a lot of impression. The project happened spontaneously with a curiosity to experiment with the use of a single-line style and a will to challenge myself in creating illustration within a tight timeframe.

– Which building or architectural style do you find most interesting?

Without any hesitation I will give my preference to Alvar Aalto House in Munkkiniemi. It is a simple and nice place to live and work in, despite the fact that Aalto’s working studio was only half a kilometre away. Which in further consideration is quite functional and aesthetically pleasing construction.

– What are some of the most interesting architectural details you have spotted?

I believe that every building holds its own character, so it does not have to be an outstanding work of architecture to attract an observer that passes by. Some buildings’ composition of windows can form a memorable image or someplace the pattern on the gate amazes with its unique structure. A well-balanced colour scheme, or a spire can add character. Käärmetalo (Snake building) in Käpylä, for example, is so unilinear and scattered that I found it quite difficult to depict from the street side.

– Which building are you planning to draw next?

I was thinking about illustrating a house designed by functionalist Ralph Erskine in Malminkartano. Honestly, I cannot decide whether to depict the courtyard or the facade. I'm leaning more towards the courtyard though it has a dynamically structured terraces.

I would also like to illustrate corner building on Kaisaniemenkatu 6, Didrichsen Museum and one of Pihlajamäki high-rise apartment houses.

List of buildings illustrated by Mark Tarnashinski:

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