November 25, 2014 Mid-Century Modern

Finnish Embassy Turns 20

Finnish Embassy exterior

Finnish Embassy is the first LEED-certified embassy in Washington.

Happy birthday to the the Finnish Embassy, which turned 20 this month. Located on Massachusetts Avenue across from the Naval Observatory, it is the first LEED-certified embassy in Washington. The embassy was designed by Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen and opened in 1994. The open, granite, steel and glass structure backs up to Normanstone Park and reflects the Finns commitment to openness, the arts and the environment.

“The architects chose to marry function with form and created a unique building which reflects some of the values that Finns hold most dear,” the embassy says in its history of the building. “The Finnish taste for modernity resulted in the building’s thoroughly contemporary design. Finland’s commitment to transparency is reflected in the embassy’s wide-open spaces and extensive glass surfaces. By blending harmoniously with the vines and trees of the neighboring park, the embassy reflects Finland’s deep respect for nature.”

Here are a few shots of the embassy.

Inside the Finnish Embassy.

Finland Hall is a multi-purpose cultural facility.

The soaring space of the hall.

A view from inside. The embassy backs up to parkland.

The glass-enclosed cantilevered balcony on the back of the building.

The balcony is surrounded by lush greenery.

Alvar Aalto stools out on the balcony.