In 1916, Finnish ironworks magnate August Keirkner and his wife, Lydia, commissioned their country’s most prominent architect, Eliel Saarinen (father of famed midcentury modernist Eero Saarinen) to design a palatial residence for them in Helsinki where they could showcase their priceless art collection and host distinguished guests and gala affairs.
A sophisticated combination of classical, Viennese art nouveau, and Finnish national romanticist architecture, Villa Keirkner took two years to construct. Unfortunately, August Keirkner would not live to see its completion, passing away in 1918. Due to its entire facade being clad in Förby marble from the Finnish archipelago, it became popularly known as the Marble Palace.
Lydia Keirkner remained in residence until 1936, when she sold the villa to Finnish industrialist and military leader Rudolf Walden. Walden and his family lived in the villa until his death in 1946, after which it became the property of the state, who converted it to a courthouse. It served this purpose for half a century, but in the early oughts, the courts were relocated and the building put up for sale.
Located on the outskirts of the vast and lush Kaivopuisto Park on the southernmost tip of the city, the four-story landmark has recently undergone a painstaking restoration and renovation carried out by SARC Architects, in which the building was converted into four private residences, each of which is now available for purchase. The units vary widely in size and price, with the smallest measuring approximately 1,500 square feet (asking price $4.25 million/€ 4.080 million) and the largest a whopping 6,630 square feet (asking price an equally whopping $16 million/€ 15.4 million).
Along with restoring period details such as original chandeliers, intricate wood carvings, and granite archways, SARC introduced advanced building technology to the century-old structure, including sustainable LED lighting and underground heat pipes to clear exterior walkways of snow and ice. Kitchens were kitted out with Gaggenau appliances and baths bedecked with luminous marble. Other 21st century amenities include an underground parking garage with electric charging stations.
Per marketing materials, every apartment enjoys a private patio, roof terrace, or one or more balconies overlooking the park. Once the site of an elegant spa favored by Russian aristocrats in the 19th century, notes the listing, “the park is today an urban recreational space with incredible vistas to the sea and the Suomenlinna fortress opposite.”