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The Finnish Architectural Review 4/2016: Flexible home

The newest issue of the Finnish Architectural Review 4/2016 discusses diverse flexibility.

Increasing the flexibility of living spaces is one of the current development objectives in housing. A flexible home adapts to various uses. In a blended family, the number of people using the home may vary on a daily basis and the need for space also changes during a family’s life cycle. Architect Jyrki Tarpio, D.Sc. (Arch.), writes about different ways of producing flexibility. The flexibility of current loft homes is based on the modernist idea of an empty space that can be divided in different ways. However, there are also many other methods of flexibility, some of which are very old. In his article Tarpio describes these various methods with the help of illustrative floor plans.

Architect Milja Lindberg presents in her article flexible homes as a solution to temporary housing which is currently in demand due to the influx of refugees in Europe. Residents’ experiences regarding the cosiness and comfort of their homes is discussed in architect Sanna Meriläinen’s article about ordinary homes. In her column, Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki continues the housing policy debate on the capital region’s housing production. She writes that one of the important objectives is to build diverse and lively neighbourhoods. “One of the cornerstones of Helsinki’s urban strategy is an egalitarian city.” The Venice Architecture Biennale is also among the topics. The “Reporting from the Front” Biennale has already been internationally assessed as a turning point in architecture trends. The Biennale’s successful aspects and critical perspectives are reported on by three visitors.

The buildings featured in the issue are apartment buildings. Four of them are located in new residential areas and one is an infill to an old and valuable urban space. The basic solutions are different from each other and there is also variation in the facade materials. The buildings contain rental, right-of-occupancy and owner-occupied apartments. Three of the buildings are in Helsinki and two abroad, one being in the industrial landscape of downtown Norrköping and the other in Vienna, a city known for its rental housing policy. “The City of Vienna is the largest housing owner in Europe with 500,000 tenants, which is one quarter of the city’s population,” write architects Alfred Berger and Tiina Parkkinen who have designed a rental complex with flexible apartments for the new district of Seestadt Aspern. The building presentations allow one to examine whether a Viennese apartment building is different from one in Helsinki.

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