The history of Käpylä started in 1893, when the City purchased the Estate of Kumpula entailing several other present city districts. By that time, the Käpylä region was mainly fields rented to smallholders, forests, wasteland, hills – such as Taivaskallio, the peak of which is assumed to have been one of the first spots that emerged from the water after the latest Ice Age.
All of the following neighbourhoods are protected areas.
Puu-Käpylä, ”Wooden Käpylä”
In 1916, the City Social Board noted that families with many children needed housing, and motioned the City Council that a co-operative housing association for the working population be founded. The Civil War postponed the onset of plans until 1920, but fortunately (and owing to excursions for England, led by architect Akseli Toivonen), by that time the idea of multi-storied housing areas constructed of stone had assimilated into a combination of English-type garden cities and small-town Finnish milieu. The final decision was made on April 6, 1920.
Since the present main roads between this new area and the city centre did not exist, the building materials were hauled from the nearby railroad stop of Oulunkylä on narrower tracks by horsepower. Three co-operatives had 147 wooden houses erected: Kansanasunnot ('People’s Dwellings') consisted of 82 wooden houses and altogether 890 rooms. Asunto-osuuskunta Käpylä ('Housing Cooperative Käpylä') built 29 houses (115 dwellings), and Asunto-osuuskunta Käpy ('Housing Cooperative Käpy') constructed 36 two-flat buildings with a kitchen and one room downstairs, and one room on the 2nd floor. As the Construction Board had ordered, all these houses were built according to the drawings made by architect Matti Välikangas, and to a town plan allowing each tenant a small lot for cultivation.
Nowadays, all those wooden houses are occupied – some apartments still have the original wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. And the tenants still enjoy their green and peaceful environment.
Olympiakylä, “The Olympic Village”
Olympiakylä was erected for the Olympic Games of 1940. Owing to World War II, those Olympics were cancelled, and the last buildings of this compound were finished years later.
Kisakylä, “The Olympic Games Village”
Finland was the host for the 1952 Olympics. To lodge the athletes, Kisakylä was built into the vicinity of Olympiakylä. It was planned by architect Pauli Salomaa. Most of Kisakylä is situated on the south side of Koskelantie, opposite to Olympiakylä. Another building area is by Sofianlehto, and a third one by Koskelantie, opposite to the sports park. There are altogether 15 buildings in this entity.
Taivaskallio, “Sky Rock Hill”
Taivaskallio has until recently been the highest place in Helsinki, 56 m above sea level. During World War II it was a vital part of the air defence of Helsinki.
There are 81 houses at the foot of the hill.
Käärmetalo, “The Serpent House”
Käärmetalo was planned by architect Yrjö Lindegren in 1951. It consists of two houses, 71 and 216 m in length. There are 189 flats – with an average size of 50 m2.