About Villa Hvittrask
Villa Hvitträsk is a turn of the 20th century architectural office where many famous buildings were designed. Begun in 1901 and completed in 1903, Villa Hvittrask was the place where the National Museum of Finland and the Helsinki Railway Station were designed.
Villa Hvittrask history
Hvitträsk was built between by architects Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen.
The three men had established their partnership a few years earlier shortly before their graduation from the Polytechnic Institute and University of Helsinki. They fell in love with the scenery at Lake Vitträsk and decided to build there in the National Romantic style.
They built Hvitträsk to consolidate their practice and to escape the congestion and noise of city life. The complex included a shared studio, homes for each of their families, and several service buildings. The architects arranged their studio and homes around a central garden courtyard.
During the early decades, the main building served as both an architectural office and as a cultural home. Esteemed figures such as Jean Sibelius, Gustav Mahler, Axel Gallen-Kallela and Maksim Gorki often visited. The office’s staff also lived at Hvitträsk. The plans for the Helsinki Railway Station, the National Museum of Finland and the monumental Munkkiniemi-Haaga project, among other significant works were drawn up here.
Villa Hvittrask today
The Hvitträsk complex resembles an ancient castle built in the middle of a Finnish forest. This architectural entity is now considered a leading work of art of the Art Noveau period in Finland. It is deeply Finnish in character, although some of its’ forms and elements, such as the shingle cladding of the walls and the shapes of the red-tiled roof and chimneys are reminiscent of English and American architecture.
Hvitträsk is a unique site that attracts design and architecture enthusiasts from far and wide.
Today the part of the complex that was once the Saarien home serves as the museum. Hvitträsk and its English style garden are surrounded by beautiful nature near the shore of Lake Vitträsk. Visitors can explore the gardens, dine at the restaurant and buy souvenirs in the gift shop.
Restaurant Hvitträsk, located in the museum’s courtyard building serves food inspired by the Finnish-Scandinavian tradition.
Getting to Villa Hvittrask
Visitors can drive to the Hvitträsk house, heading towards the village of Luoma-Bobäck. The nearest train station is Kauklahti.