Urban walks in Tapiola

Using the Tapiola trails map, you can take a walk and study the history, culture, nature, art and architecture of the region. All the trails are marked on the map, and each route has its own location descriptions as well.

Printed maps with abbreviated descriptions are available at the Citizen's Offices in Espoo (in Finnish only). The material has been edited by Pauli Saloranta in cooperation with the Federation of District Associations in Espoo and Tapiolan Kilta, and has been published by the City of Espoo.


Tapiola is the most famous of Espoo's city centres. In 1953, the Housing Foundation (Asuntosäätiö in Finnish) established a modern garden city here, and it soon became famous all over the world. In the beginning, the new inhabitants did not have it easy in the rural community of Espoo. For decades, there were various plans to make Tapiola an independent municipality or to merge it with other towns, until Espoo finally became a city in 1972. The management of Tapiola's public areas by Asuntosäätiö was not handed over to the city until 1994.

Together with Otaniemi and Keilaniemi, the current Tapiola, comprised of 16,000 inhabitants, forms the centre for science, art, technology and finance in Espoo. The Tapiola trails pass through the original garden city and towards its shores and nature, culture, history and future of the region.

76 locations, seven information boxes, total length of route approx. 25 km

Itäkartano–Hagalund, 21 locations, approx. 5 km

Otaniemi–Keilaniemi, 18 locations, approx. 7.5 km

Otsolahti–Karhusaari, 21 locations, approx. 7 km

Länsikorkee–Suvikumpu, 16 locations, approx. 5 km


The map in a pdf format


21 locations, approx. 5 km

1 Central Tower

Central Tower.
Photo Vladimir Pohtokari.

This Tapiola landmark, a 13-story office building designed by Aarne Ervi, was considered exceptionally tall when completed in 1961. A scenic restaurant operated on the top floor for a long time.

Heikki von Hertzen Square has an outdoor market that is part of a traditional city centre. Häikäistynyt (“Bedazzled”), a bronze sculpture by Tapio Junno from 1992, walks the steps next to it. The contrast between the polished and coarse surface depicts the conflicts of modern humanity. This work of art, donated by the Taidetta Tapiolaan [Art for Tapiola] Association, is dedicated to Hertzen, whose vision combined experts from various fields in the search for the perfect garden city. Heikki Konttinen's lively and humorous bronze sculpture Morsian (“The Bride”) from 1983 recalls the early days of Tapiola. The piece was purchased from Tapiola's 20th anniversary sculpture competition in 1972, but was not erected until 1985. 

Tapionraitti is Tapiola's main axis. The street is 1.5 kilometres long and almost exactly straight, and it connects Länsikorkee, the centre and Itäkartano.

2 Central Basin

Aarne Ervi, who won the competition for town plan for the centre of Tapiola in 1954, had the idea to place a basin in place of the old gravel pit and locate the central services around it. The basin was completed in 1963, and has been used for fish culture and paddle boat rental, among other things. In 2013, the basin was made shallower, allowing it to be frozen into a skating rink in the winter.

Aarne Ervi Square is located by the basin, next to the Cultural Centre. The square corner on the Cultural Centre's side has a very beautiful glaciated rock section with white granite, grey amphibolite, and dark shiny gneiss. The granite is crystallised volcanic magma, the amphibolite was formed in the Earth's crust, and the gneiss originates from the solidified sediments of the seabed. The rock types were mixed 1,900 million years ago, during the Svecofennian orogeny, at a depth of approximately 10 kilometres and a temperature of 750°C. Erosion and three ice ages wore the mountains down, and the surface was polished by the gravel that was moved by the waves hitting the shore.

3 Espoo Cultural Centre

Completed in 1989, designed by Arto Sipinen. This building is the last element in Aarne Ervi's plan for the centre of Tapiola from 1954. The space was originally reserved for a theatre. The much larger building, built three decades later, suits its surroundings well. The building is divided in two by the lobby and foyer that face the Central Basin. Tapiola Hall has 812 seats, while Louhi Hall has 300–442 seats. In addition to the City of Espoo's Cultural Services, the Cultural Centre is home to Tapiola Sinfonietta, Espoo Music Institute, Tapiola Library, the Citizen's Office, and the Espoo Adult Education Centre.

Each year, the centre and its surroundings host the Helsinki region's largest jazz event April Jazz and the international film festival Espoo Ciné; Espoo International Piano Week and KuoroEspoo are arranged on alternate years.

Espoo Cultural Centre  

4 Garden Hotel

Ervi's original centre plan had a low commercial building in place of the Tapiola Garden hotel. The first draft of the hotel was made in 1964, and the 154-room building was completed in 1974. A renovation and westward expansion in 2008 added 60 more rooms and a new entrance at the Tapionraitti level.

The front of the hotel has a well that is used to pump groundwater into the Central Basin. The basin does not leak much, but water evaporates quickly during hot summers. In the past, collecting fresh groundwater from the well for domestic use was also popular. The manually operated pump has since been removed.

Sokos Hotels > Espoo

5 Køge Park

is named after Espoo's twin city in Denmark, near Copenhagen. Espoo has eight twin cities in Europe, of which six have parks named after them. The location of Køge Park was chosen partly because Margaretha, the Queen of Denmark, went camping on the shores of the Otsolahti bay as a young girl scout. Køge Park has hosted sculpture exhibitions, among other things. The oldest pine trees in the park are over 150 years old. The ample light and open space of the park have allowed them to grow wide and low-bodied. 

The bronze sculpture A Sketch from Space by the Italian Antonio da Cudan won the competition that was arranged in 1972, when Espoo became a city. The competition was arranged to discover a piece that would best describe Espoo's development between 1952 and 1972. The organic shapes of this 17-ton sculpture, unveiled in 1980, are in methodically considered contrast with the surrounding architecture. The piece was moved to its current location in 2011, and unveiled again in 2013.

EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art

6 Tapiola Church

Completed in 1965, designed by Aarno Ruusuvuori. A baptistery is located next to the church hall; the lower wings round the inner courtyard house the rectory, parish hall and club facilities. Due to its simplicity and ascetic appearance, Tapiola Church has been called the world's ‘most Lutheran’ church. In 2002, the light installation 3 by sculptor Helena Hietanen and lighting designer Tarja Ervasti was installed in the hall. The work depicts the passage of the ecclesiastical year. The Tapiola Parish Association was founded in 1955, and Tapiola Parish itself was established in 1960. It currently has 23,000 parishioners.

The Tapiola Urn Cemetery was completed in 2004, and was designed by Professor Ilmari Lahdelma. The cemetery is located in a sheltered area inside the churchyard, offering the peace and privacy that the place deserves. An impressive view of the water basin is equally important. The atmosphere of the urn cemetery is based on the relationship between the man-made structures and the natural randomness of the trees.

Espoo Lutheran Church > Parishes

7 Tapiola Indoor Swimming Pool

Completed in 1965, designed by Aarne Ervi. The renovation and the building of the extension – which was cleverly placed underneath the old section – were completed in 2005. The building has a wide outdoor area with two outdoor pools and a sun terrace. The architecture of the Swimming Hall is cast against the dark Menninkäisenmetsä forest, which has recently undergone thinning to improve its standing wood. It will be another 20 years before the forest needs to be completely renewed.

Espoo.fi > Swimming halls  

8 Itäkartano

Of the three suburbs in the original Tapiola, the eastern one was built first. It was based on a town plan drafted by Otto-Iivari Meurman. The foundation stone of Tapiola was laid here on 5 September 1953. Tapiola's first inhabitants moved to the one-family houses at the east end of Itäkartano for Christmas in 1953.

Mäntytorni was completed in 1954, designed by Aarne Ervi. All 66 flats in this building, designed for single persons, are spacious studios. The roof originally boasted a café as well as conference facilities. Kino Tapiola accommodating 350 cinema goers, was also designed by Ervi. It was completed in 1955, one year after the commercial building known as Lasipalatsi (Glass Palace), which had a postal office and a bank, amongst other services.

The Mäntyviita and Sufika blocks were completed in 1954. They were designed by Viljo Revell. They were the first buildings in Finland to experiment with the effects of element technology on the structural solutions and external appearance of the building. This is visible in the striped windows and highly visible seams. The general public were not thrilled by the new features, and called the buildings “tractor factories”.

Clock and basin. Neulaspolku. Aarne Ervi's arrangement from 1957 consists of a clock tower, water basin and pergola. The surrounding park is designed by Ervin and Jussi Jännes.

The heating plant from 1956 will most likely be torn down in 2013.

Ilves ja pentu (The Lynx and Her Cub). Ilvespuistikko, Tapiolantie. This granite sculpture by Helvi Hyvärinen from 1962 uses the animal figure to approach general beauty. This work was a gift from Asuntosäätiö to the inhabitants of Tapiola.

Birth of the Garden City

Already in 1918, Eliel Saarinen's plan for the Greater Helsinki region included English-style garden cities in Björnvik and Alberga. They were connected to Helsinki by railroad. Puu-Käpylä in Helsinki was the first district to implement this idea in the 1920s. Once Jorvaksentie Road was opened, professor Otto-Iivari Meurman started, in 1940, the town planning for the Hagalund Manor estate. The subsequent decision to relocate the University of Technology to Otaniemi in 1949 contributed to accelerating the planning in Tapiola.

A lack of housing after the war resulted in several organisations led by the Family Federation of Finland to set up the Asuntosäätiö Housing Foundation. Its primus motor Heikki von Hertzen – assisted by the best architects and environmental designers of the time – started a Utopian project to construct a better living environment for all social classes and people at various stages of life. Asuntosäätiö also built Tapiola's ‘baby sisters’ in Jyväskylä and Rovaniemi.

However, ideals changed. The northern suburb was the last area of Tapiola to be built, and it is already clearly indicative of a different design. The sediments from various decades are also visible in the garden city. 

9 Kontiontie housing company

Completed in 1955, designed by Heikki and Kaija Siren. Terraced houses were originally built in Tapiola to offer those who could not afford a detached house the opportunity to have their own courtyard. The buildings in Kontiontie have brick and mortar firewalls as their supporting structure. The other structures are mainly made of wood. The courtyards are limited by wooden sheds and pergolas. The garages and service building shield against traffic noise. The experiment involved Puutalo Oy, which had been selling prefabricated houses for war veterans and was working on terraced house types that could be mass produced.

See Otsolahti-Karhusaari: locations 21 Otsolahti and 22 Leimuniitty

10 Terraced house for the Artists' Association of Finland

Completed in 1955, designed by Aulis Blomstedt. This house, featuring ten atelier apartments, was built using proceeds from Finland’s public lottery. The ateliers are built with galleries, and their large windows face north to provide even lighting. 

The Finnish Artists' Studio Foundation > Tapiola Studio House

11 Kehä I ring road

Completed in 1980. Finland's busiest road: in 2012, the average number of cars per day was 91,000 in Pakila in Helsinki, and almost 25,000 even at this point. The plan is to build a tunnel for Kehä I between Tapiola and Otaniemi in order to reduce the noise and dust problems, and to free up space for construction that can improve the milieu in this area, where housing is in high demand.

12 Otaniemi water tower

Completed in 1972, designed by Alvar Aalto. The external shape of the building is a dodecagon, slightly reminiscent of a nut. The water tank has a volume of 6,000 m³, and the height of the tower is 52 metres from ground level. An office building and a heating plant are located below it.

13 Hagalund Manor

In the 1540s, the village of Otnäs had three houses. Tatars burnt down the village during the Russo-Swedish War in 1577. In 1630, the houses were combined into an estate that was then split in half in 1812 during the distribution of Adolf Fredrik von Numers's estate. Soon afterwards, Captain Carl Johan von Numers constructed the main building of Hagalund manor. The building is built in the empire style, but it has very few decorations. During the Crimean War, the government cut down the estate's forests and kept 100 military tents on the Otaniemi horse grazing fields for two years. At the end of the war in 1856, the manor received 300 silver rubles as compensation for this, as well as other damage.

Brewery owner Paul Sinebrychoff bought Hagalund in 1857, and in 1859, he also bought the neighbouring Otnäs manor. Parts of the long lime tree alley between the buildings still remain. The lamps are of the “Tapiola” type. What is now known as Otsonkallio used to have a windmill, and its stones still remain in place. The manor's park and forests were once again damaged by Russian fortifications in 1914–17. The park was rebuilt in 1919 in accordance with Paul Olsson's plans. Between the 1950s and 1970s, the manor's outbuildings and worker's barracks were torn down to make room for new buildings. The only remaining structure is the red-brick piggery from the late 19th century; it is currently used by a riding school in Tapiola.

14 Innopoli

The first stage of this business development complex was completed in 1991, and was designed by Kaarina Löfström. Innopoli is now part of the Technopolis group, and it offers a full suite of services for 300 growing technology companies. The buildings of Innopoli appear powerful and massive towards the ring road, but the campus side is softer and more versatile. A long corridor joins the six cube-like parts together. The northwest corner has a scenic sauna. The second part was completed in 2002. The old Otaniemi technology village is located on the other side of Tekniikantie.

Technopolis.fi > Innopoli

15 The Walls

During World War I, base XXXVII of the Helsinki land fortress was a back-up base, as the front line was located 2 km to the west at Tontunmäki. The position of the base was dangerous, as the sea would have cut off any retreat routes.

Helsinki land fortress

After Russia's Baltic Navy was destroyed in the Russo-Japanese War's Battle of Tsushima on 29 May 1905, the emperor Nicholas II decided to construct an extensive fortress network to protect his capital city, St. Petersburg. The walls of the Helsinki land fortress that were part of this system were under construction from 1914 until the revolution on 15 March 1917. The fortification work involved a large number of inhabitants from the Helsinki region, as well as prisoners of war that the Russians had brought from the Far East. The unified fortifications stretch from Vuosaari in East Helsinki all the way to Westend in Espoo. The only battles that this fortress has seen were fought between the German troops and the ‘Reds’ during the final weeks of the Finnish Civil War, on 10–11 April 1918. All structures belonging to the land fortress are protected by the Antiquities Act.

Novision.fi > Helsingin maa- ja merilinnoitus (in Finnish) 

16 Menninkäisentie

This pleasantly rolling street view is among the most architecturally sound in Tapiola. The Ketjutalo buildings and Kolmirinne were completed in 1954, designed by Aulis Blomstedt. The 12 two-story apartments that are placed in three chains all have an area of 97 m². Their courtyards seamlessly extend into the forest-like park. The linked houses were known to the locals as “chicken houses” due to the small rear windows of their second-floor bedrooms. The five-story blocks of flats contain apartments between 41 and 91 m². Visually, they are tied together by their red-brick facades and top floors that are plastered white.

17 Silkkiniitty

The meadow can be found on maps as early as 1706, and the Swedish name Silkesängen appeared in 1916. The original natural forms have been preserved, even though the purpose of the area has changed. The meadow that is over 600 metres long and located between two forest ridges is now an area for ball games and play. Rental garden plots were placed opposite the wading pool, mainly for the tenants of Tapiola's blocks of flats. The garden plots gave the park its own life and atmosphere, although fences were also planted to protect them.

Otto-Iivari Meurman Park is located on the observation platform at the Eastern end of the park; the Western part has been named Aarnimaa. Walkways are lit by the Tapiola-type lights that the city actually installed in the park by accident. The main skiing track maintained by the city runs through Silkkiniitty in the winter; it can take you to Espoo Central Park and all the way to Nuuksio via Oittaa.

18 Aarnivalkea school

Completed in 1957, designed by Kaija and Heikki Siren. The building of the Tapiola elementary school manifested a new way of pedagogical thinking: the lower and upper classes had their own wings with central corridors, and the dining hall, sports hall and assembly hall were placed along a transverse corridor that connected the wings to each other. Terraced houses for the teachers were part of the same complex. Nowadays, Aarnivalkea is home to a primary school for 300 students; in its teaching, the school emphasises the students' own initiative, cooperative skills, and cooperation between the parents and the school. 

19 Aarnivalkea detached family housing area

Completed in 1957, designed by Jorma Järvi. A total of 21 single-story detached houses, with areas of 81 and 100 m², are placed in two groups. The placement of the houses has been carefully considered, and storage space for cars has been arranged on the side of Aarnivalkeantie in order to keep the courtyard milieus particularly pleasant.

20 Scout huts

Asuntosäätiö Housing Foundation was also an active developer of the social and cultural environments, and an initiator for many different types of activity. From the very beginning, it supported the founding and activities of organisations in the fields of education, culture, sports and youth activity.

The Tapiolan Eräpojat scout troop for boys was established in 1954, followed by Tapiolan Tellervoiset for girls in 1961. The activities of the scouts centred round the scout huts that were built by the Lions Club in Opintie Road. The boys' hut was destroyed by fire on Christmas night in 1974, but was immediately reconstructed. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Eräpojat troop had its own orchestra, Punppu, which also performed at many public events. The Lions park was set up on the southern edge of the hill in 1996. It has a memorial stone sculpted by Kari Juva.

21 Tapiola school and sixth form

Completed in 1960, designed by Jorma Järvi. The expansion was completed in 1969, designed by Heikki Koskelo. The hexagonal classes represented a new and flexible school architecture, and they also symbolised a higher level of independence between the units than the traditional rectangular shapes. The Tapiola co-educational school was initially an experimental school for the National Board of Education. The world-famous Tapiola Choir also started here.

The current secondary school has an emphasis on music, and the sixth form offers a music specialisation option as well as an extended course in mathematics. In total, the schools have approximately one thousand students. The building has moisture damage, so the secondary school has been temporarily moved to the Police Academy's premises in Otaniemi, whilst the sixth form is located in Kilo. The building will be renovated in 2013–14. The adjacent Tapionkenttä court has been awaiting renovation since 2002. Much to the disappointment of many inhabitants, the artificial ice equipment was removed in 2007.

Tapiolanlukio.fi (in Finnish)


18 locations, approx. 7.5 km

Aalto-yliopiston päärakennus
The main building of the Aalto University.
Photo Vladimir Pohtokari.

1 Aalto University, main building

Was completed as the main building of the University of Technology in 1964, designed by Elissa and Alvar Aalto. The building dominates the central area of the campus from a hill where the main building of Otnäs manor stood from the 18th century onwards. The roof of the auditorium descends into the terrace courtyard, creating an amphitheatre. The wing buildings have their own small courtyard. In addition to red brick, the facades have black granite and white marble in the architecture department.

The HUT library that borders the park from the street side was completed in 1970. In the spirit of a complete work of art, the details have also been designed by Aalto – all the way to the door handles and lights. Lights designed by Aalto are also used along the campus park walkways.

Aalto University

The cross-disciplined university started in 2010, when the School of Economics, University of Industrial Arts and Design and Helsinki University of Technology, which was already located in Otaniemi, merged and reorganised their activities. The university has 20,000 students, 350 professors, and 4,650 other staff members.


The Helsinki University of Technology was established in 1849 as the Helsinki technical intermediate school. It became a university in 1908, when it was located in Hietalahti. As the activities of the school expanded, different locations were considered, the city of Tampere being one of them. When the number of students increased after the war, the idea came up to build an American-style campus near Helsinki. In 1948, a committee led by professor Otto-Iivari Meurman chose Otaniemi as the preferred location from the three possible options; Meurman had already drafted a town plan for the area at the request of Hagalund Manor. After the government purchased Otnäs manor and 100 hectares of land in 1949, a planning competition was arranged for the campus area. Aino and Alvar Aalto won the competition with their proposal, which utilised the shapes of the terrain in a clever way. The university started its move to Espoo in 1954, but the process was slow and did not end till 1974.

2 Otaniemi metro station

The scenic terrace of the University's main building has a view over University Square, which will also be the site for the main entrance of the Otaniemi metro station. In addition to functionality and financial sense, the design of the west metro's stations has aimed at architecture that fits the surrounding cityscape. Otaniemi station will feature red brick materials and new technology, and will be designed by the architect studios ALA and Esa Piironen.

Aalto University station  

West metro

The western section of the Helsinki Metro has been planned since the 1950s. The decision that will affect Southern Espoo in many ways was finally made in 2008. One of the options was for Espoo to develop its own tram network. The metro project is expected to complete by 2015, and it will include a 14-kilometre twin tunnel with tracks and service systems as well as 7 new stations. The cost estimate is €1 billion. At the same time, the metro will move to automatic trains; the aim is to have a service interval of 2 ½ minutes. Approximately 100,000 daily passengers are expected. A western expansion to Kivenlahti has already been planned.


3 Alvarinaukio

The edge of the campus's central park has a shopping centre designed by Alvar Aalto that was completed in 1965. In contrast to the present trend, Otaniemi has retained a reasonable selection of services. The offices of the Aalto University students' union are located next to it. The AYY students' union was formed in 2010, when the students' unions of the University of Technology, School of Economics and University of Industrial Arts and Design merged. It works as a representative and service organisation for its 15,000 members, and arranges many leisure time activities through its 150 sub-organisations.

Aalto University Student Union > History

4 Dipoli

Completed in 1966 as a students' union house for technology students. The building was the first joint project of its designers, Reima Pietilä and Raili Paatelainen, and it is a world-famous landmark of organic architecture. The building has various shapes, and it blends in beautifully with its environment. The house has over 300 windows, and their vertical frames point upward like growing trees.

By Dipoli's side door we find Käpy (“Cone”), a work of art by Reijo Perko and Heikki Koivikko from 1968 that could be opened by dropping a markka coin into the machine. Former President Urho Kekkonen, the honorary janitor of Dipoli, was the first person to start the Käpy machine.

Dipoli has been a popular conference location from the very beginning. From December 1972 to July 1973, Dipoli hosted the unofficial discussions that led up to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe; many of the points of the Helsinki Meeting in 1975 were already drawn up at this location.

The building of the Swedish-speaking students' association, TF, which lies to the north of Dipoli, was completed in 1966 and was designed by Kurt Moberg.

Osce.org > history (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe)

5 Jämeräntaival

Events arranged by technology students already started in 1882, while the University of Technology was still located in Hietalahti, Helsinki. In 1924, a mysterious engineer with a sturdy beard (Jämeräpartainen insinööri) emerged as the initiator and patron of these events; with his authority, he can repeatedly call on the technology students to work for the good of the nation.

Polyteekkarimuseo museum operates at Jämeräntaival 3; the building was constructed using bricks from the Soviet Embassy destroyed during the Helsinki air raids of the Continuation War. The bricks were disassembled and cleaned by volunteers.

A Bronze Age cemetery – over 3,000 years old – can be found in front of the building. At that time, the place was a bare rock island. Next to it are newer tombstones that commemorate HUT's old students' unions.

Technology student village

Technology students were already active in Otaniemi before the decision to move the university there had been made. The town plan was drawn up by Alvar Aalto. The students' union ordered the designs for the first buildings in February 1948. The technology students participated in the construction with great interest, and arranged funding for the project by coming up with all sorts of schemes – from lotteries to selling nylon socks and arranging fund-raising campaigns. The first stage was completed in 1952. Currently, the village has 2,500 tenants.

Due to its central yet peaceful location and high level of equipment, the village has been used for accommodation during several sports events. The apartments served guests from the world of sport during the Olympic Games in 1952, the European Athletics Championships in 1971 and 1994, and the Athletics World Championships in 1983 and 2005. The five new halls of residence at Otaranta 8 were built for the games in 2005, for example.

6 Servi cottage

Completed in 1952, designed by Kaija and Heikki Siren. The cottage is the heart of the student village and is the site where the annual First of May celebrations are launched. The rustic interior atmosphere of the building that works as a student restaurant and multi-purpose building is created by the use of rough sawn timber and uncovered structures. Large natural stones serve as steps on the outdoor terrace. The original Maija Servi's cottage that is immortalised in technology student tradition has apparently been a place of festivity in Alppila, Helsinki that was popular among the first students.

7 Otaniemi Chapel

Completed in 1957, designed by Kaija and Heikki Siren. The construction of the chapel, originally ordered by the technology students, was handed over to the parishes of Espoo in 1972. It was destroyed in a fire in 1976, but reconstructed in an identical manner and reopened in 1978. The building is a world-famous architectural landmark. It contains a series of spaces that extend from the front yard through the low foyer into a hall with 140 seats, and further through the glass altar wall into the forest nature, where a cross has been erected in bedrock.

8 Espoo's Waterfront Walkway (Rantaraitti)

is a nearly continuous 39-kilometre long pedestrian and bicycle way that follows the shoreline from Tarvaspää to Kivenlahti. Both a printed map and a mobile application are available for the trail.

Espoo's Waterfront Walkway 

9 Laajalahti Natura Reserve

Standing on the glaciated rocks that were smoothed by the last ice age, you can view the Laajalahti Natura Reserve that covers 192 hectares. It is among the best bird wetlands in Southern Finland and also internationally renowned. In addition to the shallow sea bay with its vegetation, the area also includes flood plain forests, groves, old farmlands and shrubberies. The edges of the nature reserve also contain shore meadows that have not been used for pasturage since the 1960s. Pasturage has since been restarted in some of the meadows, and this has increased their wader population. Corncrake, spotted crake, common tern and Arctic tern are some of the waders that can be found nesting in Laajalahti. Whooper swans, bitterns, smews and hen harriers commonly use Laajalahti as a resting place during their migration.

On the opposite shore, we can see Akseli Gallen-Kallela's Tarvaspää, which the master painter constructed as his atelier home on the grounds of Alberga Manor in 1913.

Gallen-Kallela Museum

10 Martti Levón park

Vice Chancellor of the University of Technology, Chief Director of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, professor, Doctor h.c. in Engineering, and Master of Sciences Martti Levón (1892–1979) was a central figure in the creation of the University of Technology and in the move of the campus to Otaniemi.

Ossinlampi is named after Ossi Törrönen (1915–2009), the legendary manager of the student village, who had a vocational degree in Business Administration but was also named an honorary technology student. Törrönen's memoirs, “Ossin lässyt”, are one of the cornerstones of student culture in Otaniemi.

Finland's first nuclear reactor was started in a corner of the park in 1962. It was used for research and education, isotope production, and cancer treatments. The reactor was maintained by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, which decided to close it in 2012 as the running costs were too high. Melliferopolis, a cross-disciplined research project concerning city bees, brought hexagonal beehives into the park in 2013; they can also be used as seats. The park also hosted a sound picnic, where DJs used the buzzing of the hives to create relaxing soundscapes.

The urban cultivation area was completed 2013, and it was designed by Sofia Tigerstedt. An association has been founded to rent out these plots for individual small-scale cultivation; in a way, this can be seen as a continuation of the farming traditions of Otnäs Manor.

The urban cultivation area was completed 2013, and it was designed by Sofia Tigerstedt. An association has been founded to rent out these plots for individual small-scale cultivation; in a way, this can be seen as a continuation of the farming traditions of Otnäs Manor.

STUK - Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, Finland     

See Itäkartano-Hagalund: locations 11 Kehä I ring road , 12 Otaniemi Water Tower  and 13 Hagalund Manor

11 VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland 

The main building was completed in 1975, designed by Alvar Aalto's studio. Digitalo was completed in 2005, designed by Tuomo Siitonen. The Technical Research Centre of Finland was established as a part of the Helsinki University of Technology in 1942; its aim was to support the nation's war efforts by developing fire protection and inspecting fuel and foodstuffs. Since then, the focus of VTT's activities has shifted from testing and developing industrial methods towards performing analyses in issues that are important for society and researching new technology. Its current emphasis is to create business from innovations.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland 

12 Geological Survey of Finland

The centre surveys and researches the soil and produces information concerning the sustainable use of natural resources for the purposes of the general public, industry, land use planning and nature conservation. The Geological Survey of Finland also hosts a permanent rock exhibition that displays, among other things, a moonstone that was brought back to Earth in the 1970s.

Geological Survey of Finland (GTK)

13 Swing

Swing Life Science Center was the first business park to gather companies from the well-being and health industries in Finland. They were expected to assume the status of the ‘next Nokia’ already at the beginning of the 2000s. Swing built its sixth office building on the other side of Karhusaarentie in 2012, and a seventh unit is being planned.

See Otsolahti-Karhusaari trail: location 15 Keilalahti

14 Keilaniemi

Keilaniemi used to have a pier for the steam boats that sailed from Helsinki to the villas on Espoo's coast. A company Innofactor and a lunch restaurant, are located in what was previously the government development centre and the headquarters of Tallink Silja. Next to it, Finland's tallest office tower is under construction; it will be 122 metres tall and designed by Helin & Co.


Silja Line

Suomen Höyrylaiva Osakeyhtiö was established in 1883 to transport freight from Finland to the United Kingdom. The company grew quickly, and soon its routes reached all the way to the Mediterranean ports. After the First World War, SHO, Bore from Turku, and Svea from Stockholm cooperated to manage regular ship routes between Finland and Sweden. In 1957, the partners merged to form Silja Line. In 2006, the company merged with Tallink, established in 1989, to become Tallink Silja.


15 Otaranta

The hotel was completed in 1979, and it was designed by the architect and Italian honorary consul Benito Casagrande from Turku. The students' union of the Helsinki University of Technology had the hotel built to support the conference activities at Dipoli. It is now owned by an international hotel chain. A complete renovation was completed in 2010.

The adjacent researcher hotel for Aalto University was completed in 2012. The effects of the metro can be seen here as well, as a proposal has been made for changing the town plan to allow additional construction.

During the summer, Otasatama  harbour offers regular boat service to the outdoor areas in the Espoo archipelago, as well as boat trips with special programmes.

Espoo.fi > Town planning 

16 Otahalli

Completed in 1952, designed by Alvar Aalto. The hall with an earth floor was Finland’s largest at the time. Beforehand, it was considered to be a display of hubris on the part of the technology students. Otaniemi sports centre has a green, sports field, skating area, two street basketball courts, three tennis courts and a fitness track. Lately, the place has also been discovered by Pilates practitioners and snowboarders.

Otahalli sports hall on the Service Map

Additional locations

17 Nature trail

A three-kilometre footbridge leads through the Natura Reserve in Laajalahti to Nature House Villa Elfvik. There are two bird observation towers along the nature trail. In the summer, you can find cows grazing along the way.

Nature House Villa Elfvik

18 Test house area

Vaisalantie 1–3. The test house area of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland's construction and community technology department tests building technology, from frame structures to data systems, under actual conditions.


21 locations, approx. 7 km

See Itäkartano-Hagalund trail: location 1 Central Tower

2 Tapiola shopping centre

Completed in 1961 as based on a proposal by Aarne Ervi in 1954. The Tapiola shopping centre was the first modern city centre for pedestrians in Finland. The borough council made the decision to expand the centre already in 1967. The new town plan that was based on a design by Timo Penttilä's architect studio was confirmed in 1974.

The new shopping centre that extends over Merituulentie and includes residential towers was built in the 1980s. Currently, the centre has over 100 shops and service locations.

Tapiola shopping centre was the largest in Espoo for a long time. The other four city centres were updated to the same level in the 2000s. Now Tapiola is taking another step forward as it prepares for the arrival of the metro. The Tapiola public transport terminal will be even busier when the western metro expansion goes into operation in 2015.

Lansimetro.fi > Tapiola station

See info box for Otaniemi-Keilaniemi trail: West metro

3 Tuulimäki AA memorial

In 1993, Tapiolan Kilta placed an anti-aircraft gun of type m/31 in the park to commemorate the anti-aircraft batteries of the Second World War. A total of 22 of these anti-aircraft guns were in use; they were received as spoils of war from the Soviet Union. At the end of the Continuation War, four of them were placed in the 32nd heavy anti-aircraft battery “West”, which had the westernmost emplacements in the Helsinki air defence.

Tuulimäki has a class S6 civil shelter with management centre facilities to serve the city centre. During peacetime, the shelter provides room for many different types of exercise: wrestling, judo, boxing, apparatus gymnastics, table tennis, airgun and bow target practice, fencing and skateboarding. When necessary, the civil shelters must be available within 24 hours.

Tuulimäen liikuntahalli sports hall on the Service Map

4 Pellervo Institute

Completed in 1951–52, designed by Veikko Leisten. The institute of the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) is the last building in the area that precedes the garden city. Its exterior and parts of the interior are protected in the town plan. The institute trains representatives, clerks, and interest groups for Pellervo's cooperative societies, organisations and companies.

Pellervo Institute Ltd

5 Espoo City Theatre

Established in 1988. The theatre produces 2–3 productions per year, mainly using freelance actors, and also invites foreign visitors. All in all, there are 20–24 productions and 170–180 shows each year. They attract approximately 30,000 spectators. The theatre has a permanent staff of 12. The main stage of the theatre, Revontulihalli, is a convertible stage built into an old printing shop. It has seating for spectators all around it. The theatre has been looking for facilities for a long time. The lease agreement with MTK, who owns the building, will end in 2016, and current information suggests that the building will be torn down.

Espoo City Theatre

6 Supplementary construction

The arrival of the metro into Tapiola can already be seen in the way construction has increased and plots are being converted for residential use. The office building of the former Metsäliitto Co-operative, built in 1975, was renovated and partially torn down in 2012. In its place, four 13-story blocks of flats are being built. At the same time, the present Metsä Group received more space to build an energy-efficient new building that is designed by architects Helin & Co. Sculptor Ari Laitila's sturdy work of art in stone and wood Maan voima (“Force of the Earth”) from 2004 is in storage for the duration of the renovations.

Pekka Helin also designed the headquarters of Finnforest, completed in 2005, on the opposite side of Etelätuulentie; for a time, it was the tallest office building in Europe with a wooden frame. The building is owned by LähiTapiola and is currently on lease to the Sito consultant company.

Metsä Group    

7 LähiTapiola group

The roots of the LähiTapiola group of companies rest in mutual accident insurance,  beginning in 1857. The Tapiola group was born in 1984, when Pohja, established in 1909, and Aura, established in 1917, joined forces. The group started banking operations in 2004. In 2013, Tapiola merged with Lähivakuutus to become the largest accident insurance company in Finland.

The headquarters are from 1978, designed by architect studio Ilkka Pajamies. In front of the building, we find Hannu Siren's monumental steel sculpture Kehitys (“Progress”), from 2002. Westend tennis hall was also located at this address, but it burned down in 1967.

8 Länsiranta

As Tapiola expanded to the north and south, construction office A. Puolimatka built a small residential area in Länsiranta in 1961–64, complete with local shops and playgrounds. The group includes three ten-story tower blocks, two three-story slab blocks, and three terraced houses. All were designed by Aarne Ehojoki. In 1965, Haka built four blocks of flats on the south side. They were designed by Sakari Nironen.

9 The flada in Länsiranta

The western shore of Otsolahti has a flada, i.e. a bay that is separating itself from the sea due to post-glacial rebound. The last glacial period left the earth's crust compressed, and it is slowly readjusting itself; in Espoo, the present rate is approximately 3 mm per year. 4,000 years ago, the ground was 15 metres lower than today, and the shoreline reached the top of Otsomäki. When the sea connection breaks completely, the flada becomes a gloe lake.

The grove surrounding the flada has been left in its natural state. The main tree type is the black alder that can live for up to 150 years and reach a height of 30 metres. The black alder thrives in moist locations, which makes it an essential part of the shore scenery in Uusimaa. Espoo used to have a nearly continuous zone of black alders. The aim is to preserve as many of the remaining trees as possible.

10 Länsiväylä motorway

The main road in Southern Espoo is one of the busiest in Finland, and Tapiola is its busiest section: over 69,000 vehicles use it each day. Jorvaksentie, the first version of Länsiväylä, was built from 1935 to 1939. As the city grew, it was expanded into a motorway in 1965. The third stage of Länsiväylä, with its modern noise barriers, was completed in 1995.

The direction of Jorvaksentie was not immediately evident. Leppävaara, Kuusisaari and Lauttasaari were competing alternatives. The latter was chosen due to the greater employment effects of constructing more bridges, for example.

11 Westend

In many cities, the west end has become a desirable place to live. One of the suggested explanations is that during the time when suburbs were formed, the city centres suffered from pollution due to smokestack industry and the use of coal fuels. This type of pollution usually travelled east, as the earth's rotation makes west winds more common. After numerous developments, the construction of an 18-story, five-star spa hotel is now starting at Westendinportti.

12 Espoo’s Waterfront Walkway

is a nearly continuous 39-kilometre long pedestrian and bicycle way that follows the shoreline from Tarvaspää to Kivenlahti. Both a printed map and a mobile application are available for the trail.

Espoo's Waterfront Walkway

The Baltic Sea

Area 422,000 km², size of groundwater catchment area 1.7 million km². The Baltic Sea was formed approximately 7,000 years ago from what was then a saltier Littorina Sea; this was due to the straits of Denmark becoming shallower due to post-glacial rebound.

In terms of volume, it is the world's second largest brackish water basin. Salinity off the coast of Espoo is approximately 5‰. The average depth of the sea is only 55 metres and the Gulf of Finland is, on average, only 37 metres deep. Together with the delicate coastline and archipelago, this makes the sea's ecosystem extremely vulnerable to oil damage and nutrient loads. Rare species of animals that live in the Baltic Sea include the Baltic ringed seal and the harbour porpoise. In winter, 120,000–340,000 km² of the Baltic Sea's surface freezes, offering unique opportunities for hiking into the archipelago.

To enable seafaring from Hanko harbour during the winter, Finland purchased its first icebreaker in 1890. All harbours were not kept open all year until 1971. Nowadays, 8,200 kilometres of marked sea routes are available for merchant shipping and boating.


Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency > Watervays   

13 Karhusaari

The island has remained a wilderness on the sea side. Blueberries and mushrooms grow in the area, and the sea in front of it is rich in whitefish. A nature trail runs along the hill where pine trees grow. The oldest of them are already growing a thick bark. In a few decades, they will become aihki trees that can withstand forest fires and reach an age of 500 years in Southern Finland. For Tapiola, the pine tree has a high symbolic value; this can be seen in the names of sports clubs, for example. The planned open quarry for the metro service tunnel is threatening the value of this forest.

Karhusaari beach has David Nash's wood sculpture Ladder from 1989. With its familiar form, it manifests a physical and ephemeral transition from one space to another. Ladder-themed works from this Welsh artist can be found round the world, such as in Japan and on the British Isles.

The shore on the Karhusalmi strait side has land fortifications from the Crimean War in the 1850s. Four artillery batteries were built in Karhusalmi to strengthen the defences of Viapori as the Englishmen sailed towards our shores.

EMMA - Espoo Museum of Modern Art 

The Sinebrychoff mansion at Karhusaari. Photo Tommi Ista.

14 Karhusaari Villa

During the period of ownership of the successful brewer family Sinebrychoff, Björnholm Farm, which had been separated from Hagalund Manor, was a place for farming and rural pursuits. Karhusaari Villa was completed in 1892 and designed by Baron Karl August Wrede. It was restored in 1989 by Professor Juhani Pallasmaa.

The tree alley that led from the villa towards the manor has almost disappeared. The building resembles an Italian renaissance palace, and is architecturally the most valuable of the 19th century villas in Espoo. The fixed nouveau-renaissance interior of the villa – with its frescos, tile stoves and wood panelings – has also been beautifully built.

The villa is currently an arts centre owned by the city, but can also be rented for private use. The villa has a boat dock that also suits water buses.

Hanasaari, which is also part of Espoo, is the home of the Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre.

Hanasaari Cultural Centre

15 Keilalahti

The shore of Keilalahti has become a modern area of headquarters and Espoo's famous silhouette, with high technology as the driving force behind the major companies located here. The metro has already increased the attractiveness of the area.

The Nokia building was completed in 1997 and its expansion was completed in 2001. Both are designed by Pekka Helin. The two parts of the building consist of a well-lit lobby and the triangular, configurable office areas that are triangular in shape. The Kone Building was completed in 2001, designer Antti-Matti Siikala. The exterior of the 18-story tower is almost entirely made of glass. One of the facades displays the company's own lifts. The Radiolinja building was completed in 2001, designer Mauri Tommila. The facilities are currently rented to Keva (formerly known as the Local Government Pensions Institution). In 2012, Keva constructed a new tower immediately next to the future metro station. Neste tower “Raade's tooth” was completed in 1976; it was designed by architects Castrén–Jauhiainen–Nuuttila. This 87-metre tower with a steel frame was Finland's first real skyscraper. It is currently used by Fortum, a conglomerate in the energy sector. Even a dedicated day nursery was built for the tower.

Nokia story (in Finnish)  

16 Karhusaarensolmu intersection

Completed in 1995. The intersection has two works of art: The 9,000-kilogram aluminium sculpture Purjeet (“Sails”) by Anne Eerola depicts the seafaring spirit of Länsiväylä, connecting it to the technological landscape of Otaniemi. Hannu Siren's 200-metre Vastuu (“Responsibility”) consists of a small shape at the curve of the intersection, a rough black section, and an open cut of red granite. The purpose of the work is to speak to passersby who have become estranged from nature.

17 Itämetsä

The Itämetsä forest is an important buffer zone between Länsiväylä and the residential areas. Minor logging has been started in the area in order to allow the forest to renew itself. Pine trees were planted in the section bordering with Länsiväylä in 2001.

The surface of the glaciated rock was smoothed by the ice age 10,000 years ago. The rock is a mixed material, with potash feldspar giving it a pink tone. The oldest initials engraved in the rock are from 1839, and are in very beautiful handwriting. The trail has a bend where Björnvik croft once stood. Some time in the early 20th century, its inhabitants cut down a Christmas tree from behind the croft. Its stump, however, continued to grow in the spring and developed strong branches. Until very recently, the spruce was a visible landmark and a link to the life that preceded the modern Tapiola. The forest also has the old gate posts from Björnholm Farm.

18 Itäranta

Itäranta was built in 1960–64 as an extension of the Eastern suburb, with its own nearby services. Inhabitants of “Kultaranta” (the “Golden Shore”) included Heikki von Hertzen, Tapio Wirkkala and Helvi Sipilä. Many of the apartments have a view over Otsolahti; during construction, the view was even clearer. The only buildings that Alvar Aalto designed for Tapiola are located near Harjuviita. The seven tower houses from 1962–67 are a contrast to Revell's hip flasks. Aalto's signature fan motif is repeated in the staggered facades and the placement of the buildings. The forests in Itäranta were neglected in a long time, and before the pruning of 2001, the trees had grown overly dense. The area includes an ecologically valuable grove that will be left in its natural state. The black alders in the groves and pine trees on the rocks are an important part of the scenery. 

Museum of Finnish Architecture > Itäranta (in Finnish) 

19 Keilaniemi Metro Station

The west metro is expected to complete in 2015, bringing several supplementary construction projects with it. The most attention has been given round residential towers that would be built in the immediate vicinity of the Keilaniemi station. The tallest of these would be 127 metres above sea level. The four towers would include approximately one thousand flats. The project also involves building a tunnel for Kehä I ring road and constructing a park on top of it. The town plan has already been approved, but permission to appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court was sought in the summer of 2013.

Lansimetro.fi > Keilaniemi station    
Espoo.fi > Town planning

See info box for Otaniemi-Keilaniemi trail: West metro

20 Boulder

A small boulder is visible near the zebra crossing. This chip of rock – with a volume of approximately four cubic metres and a weight of 10 tons – has been carried here by an iceberg that floated in the melting waters of the last ice age. The rock material is 1,600 million-year-old rapakivi, a form of granite from Vyborg. Most of the world's known rapakivi deposits are in Finland. For that reason, the name of the rock material is also a Finnish word. In natural tradition, large boulders as well as abrasions in rocks and rock piles were considered to be the work of demons.

21 Otsolahti bay

Otsolahti bay is an essential part of Tapiola's scenery. After the Länsiväylä isthmus was constructed, the bay became more shallow, and is now suffering from euthropication. The average depth is only 1.6 metres, and water is not circulating sufficiently. The city has been planning to restore the bay by dredging for a long time. The bay is accessible by boat from below Länsiväylä; clearance height is approx. 3 m and the depth of the waterway is 1.5 m. The boat harbour has 438 docking places.

The spruces at the end of the bay have a heterobasidion annosum infection. The renovation of the spruces was started in 1999 by cutting down some of the trees to create gaps. Oak saplings were planted in the gaps. This aims to keep the forest silhouette intact in spite of the future actions. A group of evergreen trees, called “Tapiola's winter coat”, were planted at the outset of the 2000s in order to strengthen the forest's edge at the flood plain.

22 Leimuniitty meadow

The most important open parks in Tapiola were designed by landscape architect Jussi Jännes. The principle has been to leave the former fields of the Hagalund Manor unconstructed and to make them available for public recreation. The design of Leimuniitty started from a view of the sea at Otsolahti and a striking entrance to
Tapiola. The park could also be viewed from the rooftop café of the Central Tower, or when arriving to Tapiola by sea.

The size and strong shape of the plantations were designed in a presentable scale. The strong red and yellow tulips that bloom in spring are a contrast to the gradually greening landscape. The lower part of the meadow used to have a small arrangement consisting of water basins and a bridge. Once the metro construction site is dismantled, the aim is to restore Leimuniitty to its original state.

Additional location

22 Pluto

A bulletin board located along the Länsiväylä bicycle way, near the Hanasaari intersection, has a scale model of Pluto to the scale 1 by 1 billion. It is part of the miniature rendering of the solar system maintained by the Ursa Astronomical Association. Its sun is a 140-centimetre steel ball atop a 20-metre pole, 6,102 metres away in Pajamäki, Helsinki. The other planets can also be found near Laajalahti bay.

Ursa Astronomical Association


16 locations, approx. 5 km

See Itäkartano-Hagalund trail: locations 1 Central Tower , 2 Central basin  and 3 Espoo Cultural Centre

4 Orthodox Church

The church, named after Saint Herman of Alaska, was completed in 1998 and was designed by Paul Hesse. Herman was a monk from Valaam monastery who in 1792 left for missionary duty in the Alaskan archipelago in order to work with the Aleut people. He is considered to have brought Orthodox Christianity to North America.

The orthodox parish of Helsinki was founded in 1827, at which time it was a Russian-language parish. It currently has approximately 3,000 members in Espoo and Kauniainen. It holds service in Finnish, Church Slavonic, Swedish, Greek, and English. Members of the Orthodox Church regard themselves as following the traditions of the original Christian church, from which the Roman patriarchate split in 1054. The parties declared mutual excommunication, which was not repealed until 1965.

The sculpture Art Police in the Ahertajantie roundabout. Photo Tommi Ista.

5 Art on Ahertajantie

Taidepoliisi (“The Art Police”) in the roundabout is a bronze sculpture from 2006 fashioned by Pekka Kauhanen, a native sculptor of Tapiola. The policeman uses his three arms to guide traffic into the WeeGee building. Antti Maasalo's playful Tutkimusmatkailija (“The Explorer”) from 1985 rotates in the wind on the roof of what was previously known as Galleria Otso. The garden of exhibition centre WeeGee has Eero Hiironen's 6.5-metre long Pro Aqua, Raimo Utriainen's Virta I (“Stream I”), and Pertti Kukkonen's concrete fence Mutkia matkassa (“Twisted travels”).

6 Heating plant

In the beginning, Tapiola's inhabitants had to be highly self-sufficient in the rural municipality of Espoo: even water had to be brought in from Helsinki. In 1956, Finland's first district heating plant was started in Neulaspolku. It was built by Otsolahden Lämpö Oy, a company owned by Asuntosäätiö Housing Foundation that also built the district heating network for Tapiola's first stage. In 1960, a co-generation power plant producing both electricity and heat was built in Ahertajantie Road by Tapiolan Lämpö Oy, which was also established and owned by Asuntosäätiö.

7 WeeGee house

Originally built as a printing shop for Weilin+Göös in 1964–67, designed by professor Aarno Ruusuvuori. A maximum continuous surface area has been reached by using massive support posts that hold the roof sections in place. The WeeGee house is a landmark of 1960s constructivism. It demonstrates the aims of serial manufacturing, duplication and geometry. A scale model of this protected building is in the collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art. The extension was completed in 1974. The building was renovated in 2002–06, and the renovation was designed by Airas Architects.

Cultural functions now use approximately 17,500 m² of the surface area. The building is home to EMMA (Espoo Museum of Modern Art), the Espoo City Museum, Helinä Rautavaara Museum, Finnish Toy Museum Hevosenkenkä, Finnish Museum of Horology, Espoo School of Art and Galleria Aarni. In addition to an event market, the lobby has a restaurant, café and museum shop. One end of the building has Etelä-Tapiola sixth form, a school for 440 students that has a social and financial emphasis.

In 2012, the plastic Futuro house no. 001, designed by Matti Suuronen, landed on the backyard of the WeeGee house.

Exhibition Centre WeeGee   
Etelä-Tapiolan lukio   
Espoo School of Art

8 Eeva Kilpi's poetry and butterfly park

At the author's request, a park was established near her home in 2004. The hillside forest, dominated by silver birches, has been left to develop naturally. Any dangerous trees that reach the walkway are felled, but their trunks will be left to decompose naturally. Butterflies gather at the edge of the open meadow.

Eeva Kilpi was born in 1928 in Hiitola, on the Karelian isthmus. She graduated as a teacher, but started writing instead. Her first book was published in 1959. Kilpi's themes include her Karelian roots, nature, and human relationships. She has written boldly about being handicapped and about life as a woman, and she has also published short stories and poetry. Eeva Kilpi received the Finnish government's literary prize three times, and she has been awarded the Pro Finlandia medal along with many other awards.

9 Housing company “Kehrääjä”

Completed in 1960, designed by Kaija and Heikki Siren. The three linked houses located in the midst of the birch trees have 14 two-story apartments, all with an area of 99 m².

10 Tapiola sports park

The sports park has two greens, a gravel pitch, athletics facilities, an artificial grass field made of sand, and especially versatile sports halls.

Tapiola sports hall has courts for floorball, basketball and volleyball, as well as facilities for judo, weight-lifting and ballet. The hall is home to Tapiolan Honka and the Oilers, among other teams, whereas the Espoo Blues play on the ice of the multi-purpose Barona Arena. Esport is Europe's largest indoor exercise centre, and its various sections offer over 50 courts for games played with bats and rackets, such as 16 tennis courts. It also includes fitness services, a full-sized football hall, running track, martial arts centre and a sports park for children.

The metro station will be built to the south of the sports park. In winter, the main skiing track, maintained by the city, runs past the area to the north; it can take you to Espoo Central Park and all the way to Nuuksio via Oittaa.

Tapiola sports field on the Service Map   
Lansimetro.fi > Urheilupuisto station 

11 Jousenkaari school

Completed in 1960, designed by Osmo Sipari. Much like a residential house, the building that started life as Metsola Elementary School is divided into groups of four classes, each with their own western courtyard, entrance and steps. The special classes and common facilities are on the lower floor, whilst the classrooms are located on the upper floor. The same building complex includes two terraced houses that have apartments for the teachers. Espoo's first music classes started in Jousenkaari in 1969. During the renovation of 1996–99, the school was repaired and gained more space. The primary school currently has 290 pupils. The teaching emphasises music and languages.

Immediately to the west of the school, we find a trench that was part of base XXXIII of the Helsinki land fortress's front line; its supporting artillery emplacements were in the region of Tuulimäki and Kaupinkallio. Next to them, an urban cultivation area of 64 plots was founded in 2012, in the spirit of the original garden city.

See info box for Itäkartano-Hagalund trail: Helsinki Land Fortress  

12 Tykkitie road

The defences of the Helsinki land fortress were based on infantry and a strong artillery that supported it. The bases consisted of battle stations and artillery batteries with their ammunition storage facilities. Special attention was paid to cannon paths connecting the fortifications, as they could be used to move troops and equipment during battles. The connecting paths or cannon paths were made of macadam (crushed rock) and pebbles. Trenches were carefully built on the sides of the paths to allow them to be used during frost heave. Nearly one hundred years after their construction, many of the cannon paths are still present as outdoor trails, for example. This is also the case here. The Jousenkaari street also follows the original cannon path.

13 Suvikumpu

This complex that is part of the last stage of the original Tapiola constructed by Asuntosäätiö was completed in three parts in 1969, 1982 and 1983, in accordance with the suggestion from Raili and Reima Pietilä that already won the invitational design competition in 1962. The buildings that follow the shapes of the landscape and vary in dimensions generate a natural complex complemented by the small business building. The south and west slopes have various types of detached housing. The infantry emplacements of the Helsinki land fortress remain at the top of the hill.

14 Länsiväylä roadside

Completed in 1995 with the widening of Länsiväylä and designed by the Trollius team led by Jarmo Suominen. Near Tuulimäki and Hakalehto, the ridge-like embankments have been joined together with steel noise barriers and bridges. The colour scheme has been selected to match the white and green of Tapiola. In summer, the 43,000 plants bring out the green even more.

15 Arabikylä (Arabic village)

Completed in 1964, designed by Pentti Ahola. Each of the 17 atrium houses in Hakalehto that were built by the Haka building co-operative  from Helsinki have an area of 120 square metres. Their semi-closed inner courtyards – atriums – face the evening sun. The buildings also connect to each other, forming protective chains. The view of white walls on what was originally an open field reminded spectators of the Middle East, which is why the area became known as the “Arabic village”.

16 Hakalehto

Completed in 1963–64, designed by Sakari Nironen. For decades, the housing construction market in Finland was divided between Haka, a company associated with a left-wing political background, and Sato, a ‘bourgeois’ construction company. Even in Espoo, Haka built large areas while usually focusing on serial architecture and rationality. In Tapiola, Haka built a group of ten element-structure buildings, but used a girder and post frame. Together with the light sectioning walls, this allowed the flats to be exceptionally adjustable to individual needs.

17 Oravannahkatori square

“Orski” Completed in 1960–63 and designed by Veijo Malmio. The Western suburb of Tapiola was built after the Eastern part was completed, and it was made more condensed. The Oravannahkatori square is at its very centre and has a small-town atmosphere. A water basin was under discussion for the corner of the square, but it was not constructed in the end. Expanding the Tapiola shopping centre into a regional centre in the 1980s reduced the services of the garden city's three other suburbs. Ten grocer's shops have gone out of business, for example. The business spaces are currently used by non-regional services.

The Central Parking Garage at the beginning of Jousenkaari was completed in 1961 and designed by Kaija and Heikki Siren. The two-story garage originally had room for 71 cars, and it had a service station in nearby operation. Since that time, the number of cars in our country has increased more than tenfold.

18 Taskumatti tower blocks (Hip flasks)

Completed in 1959–61 and designed by Viljo Revell. Four 9-story tower blocks were built as landmarks on the highest point of the Western suburb. The two northernmost buildings were the first State-subsidised purchased homes in the country. One of the buildings only includes studios and two-room flats; the three others mainly include two-room flats and one larger residence with four rooms, a kitchen and a balcony on each floor. Revell's low slab block is also part of the building complex. The tower houses were dubbed “hip flasks” even before they were completed, because of their signature roof extensions that included sauna facilities. The silhouette of these buildings has become the symbol for all of Tapiola. Viljo Revell Square is located at the tower level entrance.

The name Tykkimäki (“cannon hill”) comes from Helsinki air defence's 32nd heavy anti-aircraft battery “West” during the latest wars. The battery had its emplacement where the houses now stand.

See Itäkartano-Hagalund trail: location 1 Tapionraitti

19 Heikintori shopping centre

Completed in 1968 and designed by Aarne Ervi. Many of the solutions at Heikintori preceded the current shopping centres. Tapionraitti, which passes through the building, connects the covered shopping street directly to the city structure. The tiles that continue inside the building emphasise this connection visually. The shopping centre boasts 46 specialist boutiques and Tapiola's post office.

See Otsolahti-Karhusaari trail: location 2 Tapiola shopping centre


  • Espoo – oma lukunsa. Pertti Maisala 2008. Espoon kaupunkisuunnittelukeskus.
  • Espookirja. Uolevi Itkonen 1992. Espoon kaupunki.
  • Espoon luontokohteet. Harri Anttila ja Kati Berninger 2004. 7. painos. Espoon ympäristökeskus.
  • Espoon rakennuskulttuuri ja kulttuurimaisema. Erkki Härö 1991. Toinen, tarkistettu painos. Espoon kaupunginmuseo.
  • Helsinki Espoo Kauniainen Vantaa Arkkitehtuuriopas. Arvi Ilonen 2000. Otava.
  • Koti vaiko kasarmi lapsillemme? Heikki von Hertzen 1946. Väestöliitto.
  • Kuka kaivoi vallihaudat? Verkkonäyttely 1998. Espoon kaupunginmuseo.
  • Lähiöt ja tehokkuuden yhteiskunta. Johanna Hankonen 1994. Tampereen teknillinen korkeakoulu, arkkitehtuurin osasto 551. Gaudeamus ja Otatieto oy.
  • Nimistö Tapiolan kaupunkikuvassa. Marja Viljamaa-Laakso 1992. Espoon kaupunki.
  • Sydämellistä yhteiselämää. Espoon koulutaloja 1873–1990. Kari Jormakka 1991.
  • Tapiola. Elämää ja arkkitehtuuria. Timo Tuomi (toim.) 2003. Asuntosäätiö ja Espoon kaupunki.
  • Vanha Hagalund. Eeva Eskola 1972, toinen painos 1984. Espoon kaupunki.
  • Westend – Huvilakaupunki. Erik Gillberg, Asko Siukosaari, Sirkka Paikkala ym. 1990. Espoon kaupungin kotiseutusarja 1.