Concrete Dreams – And other perspectives on 1970s architecture

Please join us on an excursion to Finland in the 1970s! This was a decade when the nation dreamed of economic growth, prosperity and equality. The suburbs became the new home for many of those who had moved to the city in search of work. They were able to enjoy the increasing amount of free time sat in their modern living rooms, watching television. In architects' studios, society’s dreams were given a concrete form – and more effectively than ever before. 
Concrete Dreams – And other perspectives on 1970s architecture, the main spring and summer exhibition at the Museum of Finnish Architecture, explores the architecture and other phenomena of the controversial decade. It tells about the ideologies and social progress that guided the work of architects at a time when the welfare state was under construction, cities were growing and housing construction was at its peak. A lot of the old houses had to make way for larger houses and more efficient roads. The industrial, systems architecture, which emphasised repetition and uniformity, as well as the grid pattern expanding in different directions, fitted perfectly with the era's ethos of universality. 
Concrete Dreams invites visitors to experience the spirit of the 1970s, for instance, enticing them to imagine how a well-equipped suburban home built of prefabricated concrete elements with adjoining playgrounds felt like for its first residents. The exhibition also highlights gems from the 1970s of different building typologies: theatres, town halls, university buildings, churches, factories and water towers. The exhibition challenges visitors to think about the value of these buildings in our environment, now that they have reached an age when they require renovation. The exhibition shows the visitor the diversity and pluralism of the architecture of that time. 
Concrete Dreams continues the Museum of Finnish Architecture’s series of exhibitions exploring the architecture of past decades, this time reaching the 1970s. The exhibition has been curated by Petteri Kummala, the Museum of Finnish Architecture’s deputy head of information services and research, Jutta Tynkkynen, the museum’s curator of exhibitions, and Anni Vartola D.Sc. (Tech.) senior lecturer in Architecture at Aalto University. 


Kaarina and Jaakko Laapotti, The Central Church of Kouvola, 1977. (Competition 1971)
17 May to 15 October 2023
Museum of Finnish Architecture
Kasarmikatu 24
Helsinki, Finland
Museum of Finnish Architecture