Cultural environment preservation and building protection in Helsinki
The City Museum is the building protection authority in Helsinki. Its tasks are the issue of statements as well as research, documentation and preservation work related to the cultural environment. The spreading of knowledge about the cultural environment and increasing the value of buildings of various ages are of great importance. The Museum also provides advice on planning repairs and help in finding experts.
There are over 3,000 buildings protected under the City Plan in Helsinki.
Planning protection, based on the Land Use and Building Act (132/1999), is the primary means of building protection. The City Museum assesses the sites to be planned from an architectural, historical and urban landscape point of view. The cooperation with the City Planning Department is also exploited, for example, to draw up regional repair instructions. As regards land use planning, the City Museum issues statements on plan drafts and suggestions to the City Planning Department and the City Government.
The City Museum also issues statements when granting building permits for the repair of protected buildings or other cultural-historically valuable buildings. The building permit authority is the Building Inspection Office. The smooth running of permit-related matters and representing the point of view of building protection are strengthened since a representative of the City Museum is a member of the Cityscape Advisory Board, for matters related to loft conversions.
The main task of the City Museum is to manage the protection work for cultural-historically valuable buildings and environments owned by the city and private individuals. The National Board of Antiquities monitors the protection of state, university and ecclesiastical buildings as well as their repair. In addition, the Board is responsible for the preservation of buildings protected under the Building Protection Act.
The repair of valuable buildings located in the City Hall area and modifications to the purpose of use are current issues. Close collaboration between Building Protection Experts and Designers is extremely important in these matters. The move of the harbour to Vuosaari, and the redevelopment of the old harbour area, is significantly changing the coastal area of the inner city. Although the change in the urban landscape is substantial, echoes of the area's previous use will be left and the most cultural-historically valuable buildings will be protected.
Researched data on the buildings of Helsinki
The City Museum has carried out research and different studies on the city's buildings and cultural environment, to serve as the basis for building protection. The so-called district inventories of the central districts and the gradually growing RAKU database of building culture are available for use. The inventories made of the industrial environment in the inner city area as well as of Helsinki kiosks, shopping centres and allotments are available as publications.
Information on the history of the buildings in Helsinki can be obtained from the curators. The Building Conservators provide information on matters related to the repair of old buildings. The City Museum can also provide contact information for professionals specialising in repair work as well as architects familiar with planning repairs.
Building heritage repair grants can be applied for from the Uusimaa Regional Environment Centre and restoration grants from the National Board of Antiquities. Helsinki City Museum - Central Uusimaa Provincial Museum monitors the repair of buildings receiving grants. The closing date for applications is at the end of September. Information about repair grants can be found on the websites of the National Board of Antiquities and the Environmental Administration.
Statements (in Finnish)