Hengitä.hankala hengittää! (Breathe.difficult to breathe!)

Story gathering and telling about 'Happihuone Cultural Greenhouse' in the centre of Töölönlahti, Helsinki, 2000-2007.


Writer-in-Residence period: 10-18th July 2007

While living in 3m x 3m x 3m approx space at Happihuone for one week in the summer, Andrew Gryf Paterson invited active and interested persons involved at Happihuone between 2000-2007, to stop by for tea and coffee, and record a conversational-interview about the issues that have grown around the site and source of 'oxygen-room' in the centre of Helsinki.

The following people visited by during the week for a recorded interview-conversation:

Juha (FI/DK), Anna-Karoliina Tetrin (FI), Terhi Järvinen (FI), Kath Oldham (UK/FI), Alan Prohm (US/FI), Petri Kola (FI), Roope Ahola (FI), Anja (FI), Mirja Noland (FI), Sirkku Lumioksa (FI/DE), John (CA/FI), Juha Huuskonen (FI), Isabella Haas (FI), Johanna Nordman (FI), Hannu Tikkanen (FI), Papu Pirtola (FI), Marita Muukkonen (FI), Erkki Pirtola (FI), Sampsa Pirtola (FI), Lily Diaz (VE/FI).

A 'tape mural', was made during the residency for the east side of Happihuone, has been made in collaboration with Simo Haanpää, which includes diagonal coloured ‘hashed’ lines, and the words facing outwards in metallic silver tape: “Hengitä.hankala hengittää”.


Spread the word to those who you think have something to say about Happihuone 2000-2007, your/their involvement, or it's terminal demise..

To learn more about Happihuone’s history (“a greenhouse and garden in the city centre that serves as a forum for environmental art and design exhibitions, workshops, and lectures”, 2005).

The Helsinki cultural office had been supporting this focal centre in the park for cross-cultural/generational activity each summer, except 2007. Meanwhile, the city administration (Rakunnusvirasto) had an agreement with the sustainable design advocate o2 Finland Ry, (owners of the Happihuone building) that they must dismantle Happihuone in autumn 2007, due to the large-scale urban redevelopment in the central Helsinki/Töölönlahti area called 'Finlandiapuisto',

In otherwords, not sustaining, not maintaining, or strategically supporting the infrastructure, culture(s), and community of people who have been variably active and passive users of this central urban plot between 2000-2007. On the introductory paragraph, the ‘Finlandia park’ says: Its construction is in progress. It is for you. A living room for residents, a place for tourists to mix. And a challenge for planners and builders. An urban oasis for culture lovers. A new forum for events

Happihuone was never meant to last longer than 1 summer. This place has been not only a laboratory of sustainability and ecological processes, has had that very admirable Finnish characteristic of Sisu!.

Since it's dismantling in October 2007, large piles of foundation granite rock have sat on the site of Happihuone. They are still sitting there whole year later.

Questions to consider:

  • Who is the ‘you’ in the imagineering of 'Finlandiapuisto'?
  • What has been given the space to breathe over the seven years?
  • What cultures and sustainable practices have grown there?
  • And once nourishing, what type of city invites its cultural offspring, to commit self-asphyxiation



Feel free to download..

Images: 'Hengitä.hankala hengittää' [.pdf 5MB], Compiled by Andrew Gryf Paterson, 10.2007.



agryfp [-at-] gmail . com

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