Some underground enthusiasts explore the classic metro lines from end to end. If you’re fascinated by this extraordinary hobby, Helsinki is your destination – thanks to the beautifully minimalistic underground network. The simple fork-shaped tube line of Helsinki starts from Vuosaari and Mellunmäki in East and ends in Matinkylä in West (although some trains won’t go further West from Tapiola).
When I’m traveling to another city, I want to take at least one visit into common people’s residential area. I’m not a metro enthusiastic but I’m into ordinary concrete. I find it interesting to see the neighbourhoods where normal people live. The other Eastern end of Helsinki metro line, Vuosaari, is ideal just for that. Vuosaari area is a combination of shopping mall, residential buildings, nature and sea. It’s not always the most picturesque place but it has character.
You can see the most topical issue of Vuosaari architecture discussion right when you hop off the metro: a 26-floor residential tower called Cirrus, the highest-rise residential building in Helsinki up until today. But I’d say Cirrus is not that interesting, the real average and also some peculiar pearls are located a couple of hundreds of meters North East from the metro station.
The West side of Ulappasaarentie road showcases average block houses, while the East side of the road hosts a unique terrace house designed by architect Touko Neronen, built in 1971. Kinda ugly, kinda quirky, but I like it a lot! The terrace house is a housing company, like so many other residential buildings in Finland. But the terrace house is exceptional in that sense that a) they have a proper website for the housing company and b) they have a compact English website too! I’d say that’s good kind of pride of where you live.
Right around the corner, next to the terrace houses there is another quirky piece of architecture: a retro futuristic heating center. This is may be the most beautiful heating facility in the world, beating even the Hundertwasser district heating plant in Vienna.
When you’ve had enough of the concrete and you want to go back to nature, turn Southwards. Kallahden uimaranta, Kallahti beach is a beautiful bay with sand beach sheltered by tall pine trees. Kallahti beach is more peaceful than Hietaniemi, perfect for reading a book for hours.