Expansion planned for Finlandia Hall
Focus on other events, as Music Centre gets bulk of concerts
Helsinki's Finlandia Hall is to undergo a major expansion. Planners emphasise that the changes will not alter the outward appearance of the building designed by architect Alvar Aalto.
Plans are to remove a car ramp and parking area from the side of the building facing Töölönlahti Bay, and to build four music halls and a cafe in the space that is left vacant.
The outdoor parking area will be turned into part of the new Finlandia Park. Cars will be consigned to an underground garage.
The work is scheduled for completion in 2011. At that time Finlandia Hall is to undergo another great change, when the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and the Radio Symphony Orchestra move to the nearby Music Centre, which is now being built.
"Finlandia Hall is preparing for a new age, when orchestras no longer use the premises. There will be more entertainment concerts, fairs, conferences, exhibitions, and certainly more corporate events", says Auni Palo, director of the Finlandia Hall.
There are plans to upgrade the large concert hall to make it easier to arrange entertainment events there.
The metamorphosis has been long in the planning, and the National Board of Antiquities has given its blessing to the upgrading of the protected building.
The new outer wall will be made of glass.
"The change will be subtle", Palo explains.
Nearly 4,000 square metres of new floor space will be added to ground level. Much of it is one big space which can be divided into four separate chambers of different sizes using soundproofed partitions.
Each of the chambers has seating for between 100 and 400 people.
The parking garage will have room for 650 cars, and there will also be space for buses.
The changes will cost an estimated EUR 13.9 million. The matter will be discussed by the Helsinki City Board in early April.
By then there might be a clearer idea on the timetable of the construction of the Music Centre.
"We are eagerly awaiting decisions. The completion of the Music Centre will affect the marketing of the facilities of Finlandia Hall", emphasises Finlandia Hall director Auni Palo.
Currently about 350,000 people visit the Finlandia Hall each year. About 100,000 of them attend classical music concerts.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Delays to Music Centre may postpone other prospective culture projects in Helsinki (31.10.2007)
Cultural oasis "Finlandia Park" to surround Helsinki´s Töölönlahti Bay (14.2.2007)
Two private investors available for Helsinki Music Centre (8.1.2008)