No Fame Can Save You When Fortune Speaks

This, my dear readers, has for years been the most famous buildings that have been abandoned in Finland in years. A restaurant was founded here in the 1930’s, and the building was enlarged to its current shape in 1939. The restaurant was in the wing closer to the camera, the large firewall seen in the middle of the building separated it from a movie theatre.

The movie theatre closed down in the 1980’s, and a flea market moved in. On the other side there was a hotel upstairs and a restaurant downstairs. And it was not just any restaurant. It was the centre of culture in the whole city. Musicians, writers and other artists from all around the country visited the place. It was known everywhere.

The building changed hands several times. In the end it was inherited by a foundation, which aims to enhance local culture. The final private owner thought perhaps, that the rich history of the building would be best preserved so.

It soon became evident, that the foundation intended to enhance, not protect local culture. They evicted the tenants at the end of 2012, 78 years after the restaurant was founded, and announced plans to demolish the house now in a very bad shape, and replace it with a block of flats.

The culture people and their friends didn’t give up without a fight. They collected names, organized events and even complained to the courts. A local demolition contractor said he would never be the one to tear it down.

The courts overturned the city general plan concerning these premises. A limbo ensued. The city started planning from scratch, the house was left standing empty. And it had stood so for five years, when this photo was taken.

Just a few blocks away was this lively, yet unremarkable looking building. When it was built in the 1950’s, it was the first shopping centre in the whole region and one of the first of its kind in the whole country. The museum authorities saw it as worthy of being protected in the very same general plan mentioned earlier, but this wasn’t done.

Although still looking lively, life had escaped its walls. The premises were empty, all businesses had moved. A new plan had been approved to construct new housing here, and the pioneering building was waiting for its fate.

So no fame is enough, when fortune speaks.

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