Polyhedra in Helsinki railway station

Train station in HelsinkiPhotography by Carlos Dorce

Railway station in Helsinki
Photography by Carlos Dorce

Another mathematical curiosity that I founf in my first day in Helsinki was located in the Central Railway Station. According to Wikipedia, this building is a widely recognised landmark in central Helsinki, and the focal point of public transport in the Greater Helsinki area. The station is used by approximately 200,000 passengers per day, making it Finland’s most-visited building. It serves as the point of origin for all trains in the local VR commuter rail network, as well as for a large proportion of long-distance trains in Finland. The station also hosts the Rautatientori metro station, which is the busiest station of the Helsinki Metro. On 7 June 2010, the Helsinki Central railway station was officially renamed Helsingin päärautatieasema-Helsingfors centralstation (Helsinki main railway station, or Helsinki central railway station) in Finnish and Swedish, replacing the previous official name Helsingin rautatieasema-Helsingfors järnvägsstation (Helsinki railway station).

The first railway station in Helsinki was built in 1860, as Finland’s first railway between Helsinki and Hämeenlinna was opened. The station’s plans were drawn by the Swedish architect Carl Albert Edelfelt. However, as the popularity of railways grew, the station turned out to be too small, and a contest was organised in 1904 with the intention of producing plans for a new station. The contest received 21 entries, and was won by Eliel Saarinen, with a pure national romanticist design, which sparked off a vigorous debate about the architecture of major public buildings, with demands for a modern, rational style. Saarinen himself abandoned romanticism altogether and re-designed the station completely. The new design was finished in 1909 and the station was opened in 1919.

The mathematical objects of the “modern” building  are located in the sculptures in the main doors and in the top of the clock tower. Each stone man is holding a light in the shape of a polyhedration of the sphere and the same shape is on the clock tower. I’m sure that almost all the passengers who walk through the corridors of the station don’t admire these polyhedra.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Location: Helsinki Railway Station (map)

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