Copper Country Architects

Eero Saarinen

by Landon Helmuth




Finlandia University (Suomi College), J. K. Nikander Hall
Finlandia Campus, Hancock
Built 1939

J. K. Nikander Hall was the second permanent building on the Suomi College (Finlandia University) campus. It was designed by Eero Saarinen in conjunction with his father, Eliel, and his father’s assistant, J. R. F. Swanson, of Cranbrook Institute. Eliel Saarinen and Swanson also created the layout of a “long range building program” for future construction on the campus.5 Nikander Hall is named after the first president of Suomi College, J. K. Nikander. The cornerstone was laid on June 13, 1939, and building was completed in December of 1939.6 Nikander Hall contained the gymnasium/auditorium, a general library, a scientific laboratory, several classrooms, and a music room. It was originally budgeted to cost $75,000, but it ended up costing $89,505.33 without equipment.7

Nikander Hall is built into the side of the hill, with the main entrance placed at the top level of the building. The building’s façade is asymmetrical; the entrance is set back into the structure, with the opening supported by brick columns. Nikander Hall is a rectangular brick building with a flat roof.

Nikander Hall

J.K. Nikander Hall.
Photograph by L. Helmuth, 2006.

Nikander Hall Side View

Nikander Hall.
Photograph by A. K. Hoagland, 2009.