The ruggedly beautiful granite building, known today as Paasitorni, was designed by the architect Karl Lindahl. At the time of its completion in 1908, it served as Helsinki Workers’ House. Paasitorni’s massive façade is made of stone hewn from rock located on the site. At the suggestion of the workers, some of the stone was also stored for a future extension to the building, completed in 1925.
In terms of its architectural style, the oldest part of Paasitorni, completed in 1908, represents late Art Nouveau. The extension from 1925 represents the Nordic Classicism of the 1920s. Paasitorni’s city block has subsequently been supplemented with a modernist building completed in 1955, the new building housing the hotel in the inner courtyard and completed in 2012, and the floating restaurant pavilion, which opened on Eläintarhanlahti in 2015.
The Paasitorni block is composed of architecture representing different decades. This is the starting point we have strived to honour and reinforce. Preserving the spirit of each of these eras was the leading idea we followed in the remodelling and new construction.- Architect Mikko Summanen, K2S Architects Ltd.
Rich history, a presence in everyday life
In its capacity as a venue for meetings and celebrations, Paasitorni retains the building’s original character of serving as a stage for large-scale events. The building has been carefully restored, while accounting for present-day requirements. Operations, maintenance and the construction of new wings are carried out and developed on the basis of customer need, with respect for Paasitorni’s rich tradition.
An international effort, led by The Danish Workers Museum, is working on a UNESCO serial nomination to get a selection of workers’ assembly halls across the globe inscribed as world heritage. Paasitorni is among the selected venues, given its exemplary fulfilment of UNESCO’s criteria for the authenticity and historical integrity of a World Heritage Site.
Paasitorni is an excellent example of an operator that has understood its historical significance and takes this into account in its operations.- Peter Ludvigsen, director (retired) of the Danish Workers Museum (Arbejdermuseet)