Tapiola or Hagalund (Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

) is a district of Espoo
Espoo is the second largest city and municipality in Finland. The population of the city of Espoo is . It is part of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area along with the cities of Helsinki, Vantaa, and Kauniainen. Espoo shares its eastern border with Helsinki and Vantaa, while enclosing Kauniainen....

 on the south coast of Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

, and is one of the major urban centres of Espoo. The name Tapiola is derived from Tapio
Tapio may refer to*Tapio, a Finnish male given name*Tapio, an East Finnish forest spirit or god. He lends his name in the form of*Forestry Development Centre Tapio, Finnish organisation, that produces solutions for sustainable forest management....

, who is the forest god of Finnish mythology
Finnish mythology
Finnish mythology is the mythology that went with Finnish paganism which was practised by the Finnish people prior to Christianisation. It has many features shared with fellow Finnic Estonian mythology and its non-Finnic neighbours, the Balts and the Scandinavians...

, especially as expressed in the Kalevala
The Kalevala is a 19th century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Finnish and Karelian oral folklore and mythology.It is regarded as the national epic of Finland and is one of the most significant works of Finnish literature...

, the national epic of Finland.

Tapiola was largely constructed in the 1950s and 1960s by the Finnish apartment foundation and was designed as a garden city
Garden city movement
The garden city movement is a method of urban planning that was initiated in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom. Garden cities were intended to be planned, self-contained communities surrounded by "greenbelts" , containing proportionate areas of residences, industry and...

. It is the location for the Espoo cultural centre. It is located in the western part of Greater Helsinki
Greater Helsinki
Greater Helsinki and the smaller Helsinki Metropolitan Area or Capital Region refer to two regions of different size surrounding Helsinki, the capital of Finland...



Tapiola was one of the first post-war "new town" projects in Continental Europe. It was created by a private non-profit enterprise called Asuntosäätiö (the Housing Foundation), which was established in 1951 by six social trade organisations including the Confederation of Finnish Trade Unions, the Central Organisation of Tenants, the Mannerheim Child Welfare Federation, the Finnish Federation of Civilian and Military Invalids and the Civil Servants' Federation . The project was conceived, built and managed by Heikki von Hertzen, the executive of the Asuntosäätiö and garden city advocate. Under Von Hertzen's leadership, the Housing Foundation bought 660 acres of forest land, six miles from the centre of Helsinki, and set out to create an ideal garden city. The role of the Housing Foundation included financing the project and overseeing the planning and building process so as to ensure consistency within different areas of the town . The Housing Foundation's unique combination of various socio-political organisations facilitated the negotiation of funds with governmental bodies . Von Hertzen set out to create a modern urban environment that would address the housing shortage in Helsinki and would be both economically viable and beautiful . Tapiola did not form part of any wider plan for Finland’s development other than von Hertzen’s Seven Towns Plan, a response to urban sprawl in Helsinki .

The original city plans for Tapiola were made by Otto-Iivari Meurman
Otto-Iivari Meurman
Otto-Iivari Meurman was a Finnish architect. He did city plans for Kauniainen and Tapiola....

. Later, the Housing Foundation made significant changes to the plans, and handed planning of Tapiola over to a group of prominent Finnish architects, including Aarne Ervi
Aarne Ervi
Aarne Adrian Ervi was one of the most important architects of Finland's post-World War II reconstruction period....

, Alvar Aalto
Alvar Aalto
Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto was a Finnish architect and designer. His work includes architecture, furniture, textiles and glassware...

, and Kaija Siren
Kaija Siren
Kaija Siren was a Finnish architect married to another Finnish architect, Heikki Siren.Kaija Siren graduated as an architect from the Helsinki University of Technology in 1948...

. Each member of the group designed their own part of the area and its buildings, including social housing blocks (80% of all dwellings) and individual houses.

The planners of Tapiola were convinced that no one professional group could solve the manifold problems of modern community planning; planning has to be highly skilled and strictly directed teamwork at all levels. Tapiola is a result of close team work in the fields of architecture, sociology, civil engineering, landscape gardening, domestic science, and youth welfare.

The name of the garden city itself was chosen through a public competition in 1953. The winning name was suggested by eleven different people, which in Finnish means the home of the Tapio, the forest god from The Kalevala.

Tapiola is also the cultural centre of Espoo, because it houses the Espoo cultural centre (home to the Tapiola Sinfonietta), the city museum (in the WeeGee house
WeeGee house
The WeeGee house is the former printing house of the Weilin+Göös press, located on Ahertajantie in Tapiola, Espoo, Finland. The first two phases of the building were designed by architect Aarno Ruusuvuori. Nowadays, the protected building serves as the largest exhibition centre in Finland...

) and the Espoo city theatre. The Tapiola library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 is located in the cultural centre.

Urban Planning

Tapiola bought world-wide fame for Finnish urban planning. From its first stages it gained both a national and international reputation for its high class architecture and landscaping, as well as an ideological experiment. Tapiola's planners aimed at demonstrating a new direction for Finnish town planning and housing. The aim of the Housing Foundation was to create a garden city which would be a microcosm of Finnish society: all social classes would live there and there would be different types of buildings, ranging from detached houses to terraced and multi-storey blocks. The slogan of the project was: "we do not want to build houses or dwellings but socially healthful surroundings for contemporary man and his family". Tapiola provided a utopian vision of society and an alternative to what was seen at the time as an oppressive urban environment. In this sense, Tapiola was both an experiment and a model.

Tapiola was built on the principles of Ebenezar Howard's garden city. The founder of Tapiola, Heikki von Hertzen, believed that it was not possible to create a satisfactory residential centre if the population density exceeds a certain figure. Hertzen's vision for Tapiola, which was originally planned for an area of 600 acres, was to have only 26 residents per acre, and a total of 15,000 people. The ground was divided into four neighbourhood units, separated by green belts, and in the middle was built a main shopping and cultural centre to meet the needs of 30,000 inhabitants (including those of surrounding districts) (Hertzen 1959). An important feature of the Tapiola and garden cities is the development of a self-contained community. This meant that as many jobs as possible had to be provided – as many as could be at a distance of less than 10 km from Helsinki.

The architects commissioned to plan Tapiola had also been influenced by Le Corbusier and other propagandists of Modernism, and thus their urban ideals also included tower blocks forming impressive silhouettes, as well as a dense method of building. The various residential units which made up Tapiola compromise multi-storey blocks and individual homes, either detached or in rows, introducing a note of variety in the neighbourhood and allowing for the mixing of residents. Combining the architecture of modernism and the ideology of the garden city movement is credited for the huge interest in Tapiola's planning history.

The main planning features on which Tapiola was built, as synthesised from Von Hertzen's writings, are summarised below:
  • The starting point of planning is the individuality of man and closeness to nature, and the aesthetic value of nature and use of natural contours of the landscape are retained wherever possible.
  • Nature dominates, architecture is secondary. All buildings must harmonise with the natural setting.
  • To be a working town, not a dormitory or nursery, providing as many jobs as possible to its inhabitants.
  • The town should provide for a range of income levels – "a community of everyman, where the ordinary worker, successful businessman and university professor can live side-by-side".
  • Consistent placing of multi-story buildings with alternatively low housing, resulting in a feeling of spaciousness and variety.


The development of Tapiola occurred in several stages: the eastern neighbourhood 1952 – 1956, the western neighbourhood, 1957-1960, the town centre 1958-1961-1970, the northern neighbourhood 1958-1967, the southern neighbourhood 1961-1965 . Planning in Tapiola commenced with architect, Otto-Iivari Meurman’s site plan and building schedule which were reviewed from 1951 onwards . His original plan detailed four neighbourhoods split by two crossing roads and set apart by green belts .

Architects Aarne Ervi, Viljo Revell, Aulis Blomstedt and Markus Tavio were charged with designing the eastern neighbourhood based on Meurman’s plan . They were required to design buildings suited to the surrounding environment and the topography of the area .

A housing team was created to appraise the architects' housing designs; this process occurred more frequently during the development of the eastern neighbourhood . Team members were from a wide range of fields and included a building engineer, a heating engineer, two independent architects, an electrical engineer, a landscape gardener, a domestic science expert, a child welfare expert, a sociologist, and a housewife . This unique team, coupled with the board of the Housing Foundation, assessed housing designs, taking into consideration the needs and desires of future residents from a diverse range of backgrounds . The parties had different beliefs and values, which sometimes led to disagreements, for example the Housing Foundation was concerned with economising whilst the home-economics experts were chiefly concerned with the needs of families . Thus planning in Tapiola was collaborative and proactive as it involved targeting specific family types and classes, deciding on an ideal lifestyle for these residents, which accordingly influenced their behaviours . Many dwellings were designed to house a specific family-type and lifestyle . For example, it was perceived to be ideal to have families with children reside in dwellings, at or close to ground level in order for the children to have better access to the outdoors and to parks, whilst a tower block with one-room flats was designed to accommodate childless couples .

Meurman resigned from the board of governors of the Housing Foundation in 1954 following a shift from developing a town with low population density (six persons per acre) and low-rise buildings dwellings, as advocated by Meurman, to more multi-storey buildings and a higher population density (30 persons per acre) as recommended by other architects and the Housing Foundation . This shift was prompted by the need to accommodate a larger population, triggered by the housing shortage in Finland . Ervi took up Meurman’s position as master planner .

The development of the eastern neighbourhood led to the implementation of important planning principles such as providing facilities that encourage interaction and foster a sense of community as well as the separation of vehicles and pedestrians . It was also deemed necessary to have a mixture of building types located within the one area to encourage social diversification . It is interesting to note that the eastern and western residential areas of Tapiola featured curved streets with lots of varying sizes and positions, whilst the northern neighbourhood designed by architect Pentti Ahola, marked a return to the orthogonal grid plan. Ahola's design however, reflected the original aims of Tapiola; that of encouraging social diversification by locating a variety of building types within the one area . Financial concerns affected the development of the western area of Tapiola, leading to the construction of housing units that were economically feasible .

In 1953 Aarne Ervi was awarded the commission to plan the town centre . The aim of the town centre's design was to provide all the facilities necessary for a modern urban centre and to maximise social interaction . The centre included a market square, public square, church, public premises, businesses and an administration building. As with the other areas of Tapiola, the centre was designed with consideration for the site's features and terrain as well as to provide an active and versatile environment for pedestrians . Roads surrounded the central area producing a modern design completely separate from vehicles and featuring a special route for pedestrians and cyclists only (Tapionraitti) . Ervi ensured the centre preserved the garden-city character of Tapiola by locating the buildings around an artificial lake, however this plan was considered strange and criticised for it’s lack of density . The centre was later expanded with a pedestrian based shopping centre linked to the Tapionraitti, notable for its undercover, outdoor pathways . Later developments showed less consideration for the natural surroundings, though most developments respected the dominance of the existing buildings . Tapiola's centre did not expand to such an extent as to rival Helsinki .


Finland's first shopping centre, Heikintori
Heikintori is a shopping centre in Tapiola, Espoo, Finland.Heikintori is the oldest shopping centre in the entire country of Finland. It includes many shops including clothes and electronics shops, many restaurants, and a barber's shop....

, was opened in Tapiola in 1968. The Tapiola centre has a large selection of services: department store
Department store
A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

s (Stockmann
Stockmann is a Finnish listed company which was established in 1862 and is engaged in the retail trade. Stockmann's three divisions are the department store division, Hobby Hall, which specialises in mail order and online sales, and Seppälä, a chain of fashion stores...

 and Sokos
Sokos is a chain of department stores in Finland that is part of the S-Group. It should not be confused with the hotel chain, Sokos Hotels.- Department stores :* Espoo * Helsinki* Helsinki * Hämeenlinna* Joensuu* Jyväskylä...

), book stores (Akateeminen kirjakauppa and Suomalainen Kirjakauppa
Suomalainen Kirjakauppa
Suomalainen Kirjakauppa is the largest bookshop chain in Finland with it's flagship branch in Helsinki being Finland's largest bookshop. It was founded in 1912 and expanded to become Finland's largest bookshop chain in the 1990s....

), groceries (S-Market, K-Supermarket, Stockmann Herkku), Alko
Alko is the national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly in Finland. It is the only store in the country which retails beer over 4.7% ABV, wine and spirits. Alcoholic beverages are also sold in licensed restaurants and bars but only for consumption on the premises...

, a post office
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

, bank
A bank is a financial institution that serves as a financial intermediary. The term "bank" may refer to one of several related types of entities:...

s (Nordea
Nordea Bank AB is a Stockholm-based financial services group operating in Northern Europe. The bank is the result of the successive mergers and acquisitions of the Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Norwegian banks of Nordbanken, Merita Bank, Unibank and Kreditkassen that took place between 1997 and 2000...

, Sampo
Sampo (bank)
Sampo Group is a Finnish company in insurance, and, until the year 2006, banking. It is one of the largest companies in Finland. In November 2006, it was disclosed that the banking business of Sampo is sold to the Danish Danske Bank, so that Sampo will concentrate on its insurance business...

, Actia
Aktia Savings Bank
Aktia Bank plc is a Finnish bank owned by Finnish savings bank foundations, institutions, savings banks and private individuals.Aktia serves as the central financial institute for savings and local co-operative banks....

, Osuuspankki, Ålandsbanken, Handelsbanken
Svenska Handelsbanken AB is a Swedish bank.-History of Svenska Handelsbanken:The history of Svenska Handelsbanken goes back to 1871 when a number of prominent companies and individuals in Stockholm's business world founded Stockholms Handelsbank...

, Nooa Säästöpankki and Suurpohjan osuuspankki), sports stores (Intersport
The Intersport Group is an international sporting goods retailer. IIC-Intersport International Corporation is its purchasing division.The headquarters are located in the capital of Switzerland, Bern....

, Sportia), photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

 stores, barber's shops, and other small businesses. Public services include the Tapiola health centre, a library, an employment bureau, Kela
Kela, or Kansaneläkelaitos , also FPA or Folkpensionsanstalten , and SII or Social Insurance Institution , is a Finnish government agency in charge of settling benefits under national social security programs...

, the Espoo magistrate and the Espoo tax bureau.

Sports services

The Tapiola centre houses a swimming pool
Tapiola swimming pool
The Tapiola swimming pool is a swimming pool centre in the district of Tapiola in Espoo, Finland. The centre was designed by Aarne Ervi and built in 1965. The building was renovated by Arkkitehdit NRT, and the renovation was completed in the 2000s. The renovation included an extension of the...

 and the Tapiola bowling alley. Near the centre is also the Tapiola tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 park. In the Tuulimäki defense shelter there are premises for wrestling
Wrestling is a form of grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. A wrestling bout is a physical competition, between two competitors or sparring partners, who attempt to gain and maintain a superior position...

, judo
is a modern martial art and combat sport created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the object is to either throw or takedown one's opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue one's opponent with a grappling maneuver, or force an...

, shooting (air guns and archery), table tennis
Table tennis
Table tennis, also known as ping-pong, is a sport in which two or four players hit a lightweight, hollow ball back and forth using table tennis rackets. The game takes place on a hard table divided by a net...

, gymnastics
Gymnastics is a sport involving performance of exercises requiring physical strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and balance. Internationally, all of the gymnastic sports are governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique with each country having its own national governing body...

 and fencing
Fencing, which is also known as modern fencing to distinguish it from historical fencing, is a family of combat sports using bladed weapons.Fencing is one of four sports which have been featured at every one of the modern Olympic Games...

. There is also a boxing ring
Boxing ring
A boxing ring is the space in which a boxing match occurs. A modern ring, which is set on a raised platform, is square with a post at each corner to which four parallel rows of ropes are attached with a turnbuckle...

 in connection to the Tuulimäki gymnasium. In western Tapiola there is the Tapiola sports park
Tapiolan Urheilupuisto
Tapiolan urheilupuisto is a multi-use stadium in Tapiola, Espoo, Finland. It is currently used mostly for football matches and is the home stadium of FC Honka. The stadium holds 5,000 and it was built in 1970....

, housing the ice hockey rink, skating rink
Ice rink
An ice rink is a frozen body of water and/or hardened chemicals where people can skate or play winter sports. Besides recreational ice skating, some of its uses include ice hockey, figure skating and curling as well as exhibitions, contests and ice shows...

 and the tennis centre. The name Tapiola comes from a competition held by the apartment foundation. The lands originally belonged to the Hagalund mansion.


In the centre of Tapiola, next to the central pool, there is the Tapiola Garden hotel
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

, designed by Aarne Ervi. In autumn 2005, the highest wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

en office building in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, called the Modular-office, was built in southern Tapiola by next to the Länsiväylä
is a motorway in the Greater Helsinki area of Finland, mainly at the Helsinki conurbation. It is part of the Finnish national road 51. The road begins in Ruoholahti in western Helsinki and continues west through the island of Lauttasaari and then across the city border to Espoo. The Länsiväylä road...

 highway. The building is operated by Finnforest.

Tapiola is also the name of a Finnish insurance
In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the...

 company, presumably from the location of its headquarters. Among other major companies headquartered in Tapiola are Huhtamäki
Huhtamäki is a Finnish company, headquartered in Espoo, which manufactures and supplies packaging for various uses. Its primary outputs include cartons and containers for foods and other consumer goods, disposable tableware and films and laminates for such uses as adhesives, plasters and labels...

 and M-real
M-real Corporation is a Finnish paper and pulp company. It was originally established by G.A. Serlachius, and named Metsä-Serla . The brand Serla is an M-real brand. M-real's slogan is "make it real"....


In Otsolahti in eastern Tapiola, there is a small boat harbour
Boat Harbour
Boat Harbour is the name of various localities:*Boat Harbour, Tasmania, Australia*Boat Harbour, New South Wales, Australia*Boat Harbour , Sydney, Australia*Boat Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada*Boat Harbour West 37, Nova Scotia, Canada...

 for motor boats.

The Itäkartano area east of the Tapiola centre is famous for its apartment buildings built in the 1950s, visited by architects from all around the world. The Itäkartano centre operated as the centre of the whole district of Tapiola before the current central area was built. Remnants of this central role include Tapiola's cinema
Movie theater
A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

, Kino Tapiola, by the Mäntyviita street, and office apartments. The area belongs to the Finnish museum bureau's list of significant cultural environments. The highest, oldest, and most significant building in the area is the white, 11-storey-high Mäntytorni building.

To the north of Tapiola centre is a central park, Silkkiniitty, a large grass field reaching to Pohjois-Tapiola
Pohjois-Tapiola or Norra Hagalund is a district of Espoo, a city in Finland.-See also:* Districts of Espoo...

. It is popular among sportspeople and sunbathers.

According to the Finnish museum bureau, Tapiola is a unique phenomenon in the world. According to the bureau, new proposed changes to the city planning threaten the existence of this cultural heritage.

Tapiola will have its own metro station when the Länsimetro
The Western Metro Extension will be an extension of the Helsinki Metro system from central Helsinki, Finland, to the neighbouring city of Espoo. The new stretch of line will extend from the existing Ruoholahti metro station via the island of Lauttasaari, the Aalto University School of Science and...

 project is completed. This will be the terminus for the first stage of Länsimetro
The Western Metro Extension will be an extension of the Helsinki Metro system from central Helsinki, Finland, to the neighbouring city of Espoo. The new stretch of line will extend from the existing Ruoholahti metro station via the island of Lauttasaari, the Aalto University School of Science and...

. The project will be probably completed in 2013.

External links

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