Aalto fans. Sunday in Paimio and around.

Architecture, Blogroll, Finland, Picture a day, Traveling, Turku

Paimio is an insignificant village close to Salo (near Turku), but it is where you find another architecture pearl by Alvar Aalto: the former tuberculosis sanatorium. Apparently before the ATBs were used in fighting tuberculosis in the 1950s, people had been often sent to these, errr, sanatoriums where they were treated with fresh air, high hygiene standards, fresh colours and proper food. Every third patient did not quite make it, but hey, it was a way to stop the disease from spreading at least.

Nevertheless, the sanatorium made Aalto famous abroad – functionalism at its best, practical AND pretty. Oh and the atmosphere is stunning.  I could not stop thinking that there is TB bacteria hiding somewhere.

But in fact after the scientist found more efficient ways to defeat TB, the sanatorium was used as a “normal” hospital for 40 years since the 1970s. The hospital closed a few year ago and parts of it have been rented by MLL afterwards. Some activities take place in some parts of the sanatorium during the weekedays, which means that the hospital at the weekend – when the guided tours take place – feels superempty and exciting.

Well, havea look for yourself.

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Fresh pine-scented air and sun – sounds legit.MIU_6146MIU_6143

Aalto waves, fresh, bright colours, absence of corners for hygiene reasons.MIU_6138MIU_6122MIU_6118MIU_6092

The 1970s meet Aalto.MIU_6131

Aaltos none functioning tile stove – a slight design fail 😉 the smoke does not really sink down, does it…MIU_6100

Hygienic lights. Chapel and social room in one.MIU_6112

FreE toilet boot and a smart door handle which won’t catch your sleeve.MIU_6114

Sophisticated ventilation.MIU_6129

Spitter and “silent” hand sinks.MIU_6155MIU_6140

Young scared birdy in the garden… we let her be.MIU_6165

Long time no see. Long time no sea.

Blogroll, Finland, Picture a day, Traveling

No, there was not much sea lately, partly due to me being abroad and around, partly ’cause the spring has not really broken out in here.

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No, this is not Finland. Gotcha.

THIS, however, is. The picture is take about 3 weeks ago, the ambience prevails. The fence was full of wind-torn adverts, above all election posters.

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But the sun shines even in the north, about 23 minutes per day. Such moments remind me of the extra long golden hours we get here in the summer…

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… long time no sea? Time to travel to the archipelago then!

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I admit the following pictures was taken by mistake. Makes a perfect background material for further projects though!

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Dear burglars, we are in Lapland at the moment. Our flat is flat-sat though, so don’t get excited. Dear faithful readers, you can look forward to a lot of snow-covered pictures. It has been rather cloudy lately, so no winter wonderland I’m afraid.

Bearers and keepers.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Immigrant integration, Lifestyle, Picture a day, Sunsets

I spotted them today on numerous occasions. They appeared inconspicuously. Overnight. Unremarked by (social) media. Yet we are talking about the unequivocal sign of winter. Bearers of darkness and sub-zero temperatures: I’m looking at you, all those thousands of aurauskepit (“ploughing sticks”) sown all around Finland. These plastic sticks of varying length are placed along curbs and those no-man areas along the roads, those random patches of grass, narrow concrete passes, etc.

Their obvious purpose is to mark road raises and descents, such as curbs, pavements, road shoulders, ditches etc. once these get covered in snow. What else is there to add?

The weather was surprisingly mild today, but the temperatures get very close to 0°C at night, and I suspect that they might make it below zero this week. We shall see.

Today we went through yet another flat viewing. Or house viewing. It went surprisingly well for a village quite far away from Helsinki. The surroundings were pretty autumny. Dusky. With few colours left.

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miu_3795(I particularly like the one above. Sums it up all. Graveyard. Autumn. Time.)

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Also, I managed to slip to the nearby cemetery and found the grave of Charlotta Lönnqvist, the benefactor of Aleksis Kivi, one of most famous Finnish authors of all times. Charlotta is still cherished and loved by many people, particularly for her kindness, love for Aleksis and art and down-to-earth attitude…

… and then we arrived home and a sunset happened:

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Now, I’ve been somehow busy with all kinds of home improvement and decoration lately. I blame the daily dumpster diving sessions – so far I’ve found 2 brand new (!) ikea Ribba pictures shelves, a collection of white flower pots (the largest of these is now serving as a storage bin for posters, wrapping paper, etc.), a retro kitchen jar trending on Finnish auction sites and this awesome Fazer biscuit tin (probably rather aged). These have been appropriately cleaned and have been stored for future use 😉

The dumpster diving procedure goes as follows: 1. Check out the situation in the inner yard. I’m not too confident going through rubbish in front of others. Yet. 2. Look into the bin and identify any interesting items. Empty boxes and bags which might contain more items. 3. Quickly grab the haul and walk quickly towards the door. 4. Walk into the janitor and about 57931 other people in the elevator hall, despite this being otherwise empty. Greet your neighbour and have a small talk with them. Blush. Be sure that one of the people you’ve just met was the one who threw out the item into the bin. 5. At home, think again about what you just brought with you. On the next occasion bring half of the items back into the bin. 6. Clean the sh*t out of the hauled items. 7. Bring most of them upstairs in the attics, cause you don’t want to use them just yet. 8. Tell your better half. Be pleased with yourself.

So why am I doing this?!

I’m a sucker for old, quality things – and of course I can appreciate a bargain. Most items I find in the recycling centre/thrift store/bin are items of timeless design, are quality (!), have been almost always made in Europe (if not in Finland) and have some direct connection to this country. Or to the time and place they were manufactured.

Besides, I would like my children to be able to inherit some items with a (hi)story. Either I get the item from the above-mentioned places, or I buy hand-crafted or designer items, or I make and reuse a plenty – typically I would make or order-to-be-made cushion covers, as I think cushion covers are great for saving random bits of fabric which would otherwise not be used or shown. Chances are that some of these items might not be appreciated by the kids, or my better half – but that’s fine. That is their choice. But if I just followed lifestyle trends, what would I end up with at the end otherwise? A batch of poor quality IKEA glasses and dressers of mass character or Pepco/Lidl/KiK ceramic stars or “Home” signs made in East Asia..? Meh.

What else has been going on – hmm, I have been thinking about “my” immigrant families, I have been trying to – rationally and emotionally – understand their situation, especially that of those who will be most probably excluded from the Finnish labour market for some time (or forever) and  I have some thoughts. I’ve made myself present in the course, kinda tried to establish contact with the students and gain their trust. Once I’ve collected enough of material I will share the conclusions with you, but not quite yet. But, inshallah, soon!

Weekend. Week. End.

Blogroll, Helsinki, Lifestyle, Likes

Happy to see this weekend at the end. Why? Because F 33.0, maybe even F33.1. Either way, today we by total chance found this old factory (Labor) in Jorvas, just off Kirkkonummi. Whatever was made in here, I really enjoy this picture. Those angles, those shadows.

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While trying to get rid of the above-mentioned codes on Friday I think I discovered another liveable area in Helsinki – Kallahti. It had it all, vicinity of metro station, sand beach with full-grown conifers, a cosy café, a peninsula covered with forest… and overlyoverlyoverpriced tall apartment houses…

… it was windy and dramatic and there was sea. Kind of what I needed.

(friendly/hungry duck for a companion)

Uhm, what else. We went to our first common house viewing, just in order to get a grasp on what’s going on with prices and areas to live around Helsinki. I know, I know. The age has gotten to us, we are trying to escape to the nature, pick apples and keep bees. Or something. It doesn’t matter how it went as we can currently not afford the house anyways, but it was a positive experience nevertheless!

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Oh yeah, this is what I wanted to show you: another of my calming walks was meant to lead me (and you, m’dear readers) to a garden colony in Käpylä. How traitorous. The whole area was fenced and guarded by harpies and CCTV. I had to walk around the whole area, and I found this bush. Those silver flip-sides of the leaves, they were flickering so happily in the autumn wind. Kind of reminded me of fish scales. Or silver coins. Or chocolate.

 

Apologetic (t)rain.

Blogroll, Comments, Finland

When I was living in what can without doubts be called the best flat-share ever,  with my flatmates we wrote down some of the brightest ideas we came up with (usually in the kitchen, for some unexplainable reason).

One of the ideas was on an autumny note: the nature of British rain. It does happen frequently, yes, but it is very different compared to say Dutch, German or Finnish rain.

When it rains in the above-mentioned countries, it is usually the all-or-nothing rain (with the exception of the autumn drizzle), pouring down like as if there was no tomorrow, sometimes the drops would become steady streams of freezing liquid flowing parallel to the Earth’s surface, blinding, leaving you and your clothes without a chance.

British rain, however, starts conspicuously, carefully, with its head down. The drops are avoiding coming down in some recognisable pattern. For the entire duration of the shower you feel as if the rain was behaving as a native English passenger on the tube passing from the front doors toward the middle of the car: “excuse me, sorry, thank you, ooops, sorry darling, thank you, pardon, sorry m’love, thank you, cheers, ta”. Sorry for making you wet. 

Now. Last week I went to Turku to attend an academic conference, unfortunately one of the worse ones. As an anthropologist I can never be sure how (in)valuable my findings and how suitable my method is, our professors did teach us a thing or two about academic research. The principle of anthropology research is to avoid stating the obvious, and the essential presenting skill includes knowing the difference between a “presentation” and “reading your paper in front of everyone (accompanied by a set of mediocre powerpoint slides)”. How come people who have been in the field for 15+ years have not heard of these? What’s the point of reading out loud a paper in bad English and boring everyone while presentation can serve as a great tool for acquainting the audience with research findings?

I was sitting there, melting. Thought I’d chuck one of the muffins we got with our coffee at the poor person, and I sincerely hoped I was not the only one in the lecture theatre thinking that a fair half of presentations were dreary.

The Turku train knew in advance I had a bizzare experience ahead of me and decided to be delayed by half an hour. My fellow passengers and I were freezing at the platform, when – just like the British apologetic rain – the train appeared from behind the poles and slowly and in a guilty manner approached the platform.

Avoiding eye contact, just like a guilty dog.