From a bank training center into a conference hotel
Hotel Rantapuisto halts you: The imposing main building was finished in 1963 as a training center for Pohjoismaiden Yhdyspankki bank (PYP, later named Suomen Yhdyspankki), built in a region notable for its scenic culture amid nature in eastern Helsinki. PYP had earlier acquired an Art Nouveau-style Villa Furuborg, built in 1917 at the same property, which functioned earlier as a summer villa for the Rosenlew family.
The basic model of the training center, which consists of a pavilion-style ground plan and glass-covered corridors between different sections, connects the surrounding nature with the interior of the building, forming a coherent entity. The architect couple Ragnar Ypyä and Martta Martikainen-Ypyä drew their inspiration for the training center design from the architecture of Alvar Aalto (in whose architectural office Ragnar Ypyä worked during the 1920s), as well as from the Danish Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
The very rational and clean-lined architecture surrounded by forested and rocky nature creates a harmonious body. Every aspect of the building is carefully considered, down to even the smallest detail. The building is “a complete work of art.” Different wood materials have been used abundantly in interior decoration. The house still brings to the fore some of the most interesting architectonic features of its time; the whole is composed of several wings and atriums, premises are wide, and the spacious corridors are built of glass from floor to ceiling. Several original decoration gems still exist, such as lamps, fireplaces and roof structures.
In the 1980s, the training demand increased and a new conference wing, auditorium and a ball game hall was built to better serve this growing need. The economic depression of the 1990s and finally a merger between Merita and Kansallis-Osake-Pankki (KOP) banks diminished the need for training, and during the 21st century Rantapuisto began to serve all clients interested in accommodation and training under the name of Unitas Congress Center, later known as Conference Hotel Rantapuisto. The hotel opened its doors internationally under the flag of Best Western hotel franchise in April 2014. Hotel’s story continued as independent and unique, Hotel Rantapuisto, 22 August 2016.