Embassy of Finland

The Finnish Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue was designed by Heikkinen-Komonen in 1994 and is an emblem of Scandinavian design.  It is an elegant example of utilitarian minimalism utilizing raw unfinished materials to achieve a refined and poetic composition.  The un-ordained granite walls on the East and West of the building rely on the material’s own natural luster for there beauty.  The North and South walls are constructed of glass and translucent glass block with an integrated steel grid supporting the growth of vines that act as a regulating system for solar exposure and heat gain.

The building was meant to be a clear statement of Finnish identity and is considered by Architectural Review to be the “best new building in Washington in the past 50 years.”  For some background, look up the work of twentieth century modernist Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, who has richly influenced the architecture of the region.

For interior shots, see this post:






3 Responses to “Embassy of Finland”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    I once read that that the Finnish are one of the only modern nationalities with entirely positive stereotypes. (I believe the unfounded bias against them is that they are: honest, trustworthy, and modest.) This awesome building doesn’t hurt their cause.

  2. Kalevala | The Straight Torquer Says:

    […] The mythic history of the Finnish people is on display right now a the embassy on Massachusetts Avenue.  Viewing this exhibition is a wonderful excuse to visit one of the finest examples of modern architecture in Washington DC.  The soaring central space is punctuated by massive copper colored forms that appear to be floating in space.  For views of the exterior, please see this post. […]

  3. Ray Says:

    An article on The Diplomatic Finnish Sauna Society of D.C., a group of people who regularly partake in the embassy’s saunas:


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