T.A. Elo, an architect called Life

This little shop is amazing – packed with returning satisfied customers, it has no self-service. Instead, the shop-keeper stands behind her counter in the same, more or less, interior from which her predecessors since 1931 have served satisfied customers. This website of places purveying good coffee was as delighted as everyone else (scroll down to 87).

The building, Tehtaankatu 25, is by one T. A. Elo. Look up “elo” in any Finnish-English dictionary and you’ll find life but also crop.

He designed a good crop of buildings all over Helsinki starting from the mid-1920s and going on for two decades. The kind of classical yet functionalist (the Finnish funkkis sounds so much less technocratic than its English equivalent!!) stuff that we Helsinki-born folks take so much for granted we probably don’t even notice it. The building on the corner of Laivurinkatu and Tehtaankatu in Eira, however, is pretty spectacular, so unless you go around looking at the ground, reading advertising or if you drive and for you the city is just traffic and so you notice nothing else … unless you do these things, you’re likely to notice this building called Sydvväst, as well as the hospital across the road (featured months ago on this blog). And then you might think that architecture is a wonderful thing. Even without the snow (yippeee, more of it is coming down as I type) it’s lovely. In fact, even in the dingy, gray November we just had it was a feast for the eyes.

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