The Architectural Office Gesellius, Lindgren, Saarinen was founded in 1896 and from the very beginning the office received demanding assignments. The Finnish Pavilion designed in 1889 for the 1900 World Fair in Paris gained international fame for the office.
In Finland the architects achieved success with their public buildings such as the ones for insurance company Pohjola and the National Museum of Finland. For residential and commercial buildings the office created a new style, which is best represented by so called Doctors' House in central Helsinki (Fabianinkatu 17). Some of the first villas designed by the trio included the villa for S. Wuorio and the Paloniemi Manor. However, the office's villa architecture culminates in Hvitträsk and the Suur-Merijoki Manor that manifest the idea of a total work of art. The office broke up in practice at the turn of the year 1904-05, but the name remained until the end of 1905.
History - Hvitträsk through the Years
1901 Architects Herman Gesellius, Armas Lindgren and Eliel Saarinen bought the Marievik parcel by Lake Vitträsk in Kirkkonummi. The annex, also known as Little Villa, was completed.
1903 The main building was completed. Eliel moved to the South Wing with his wife Mathilda; Lindgren and family to the North Wing and Gesellius to Little Villa.
1903–1905 Residence and studio of Gesellius, Lindgren and Saarinen. Eliel and Mathilda divorced. Both were joined in a new marriage March 6th 1904: Eliel with Gesellius’ sister Loja, and Mathilda with Gesellius. The Lindgrens moved to Helsinki in 1905.
1905–1916 Residence and studio of Gesellius and Saarinen. The Gesellius family lived in the North Wing.
1916–1923 Summer residence of Saarinen. The North Wing was built anew on the basis of a plan by Eero Saarinen in 1929 – 36. Johannes and Rita Öhqvist looked after Hvitträsk round the year.
1949–1968 Luxury residence of Anelma and Rainer Vuorio. The Saarinens sold Hvitträsk to Mr and Mrs Vuorio in the summer of 1949. Vuorio bankruptcy; Hvitträsk passed into the possession of Kansallis-Osake-Pankki Bank in 1968.
1968–1969 Gerda and Salomo Wuorio Foundation purchased Hvitträsk from Kansallis-Osake-Pankki Bank. The movable property was auctioned in 1969. The main building was renovated into a museum, Little Villa into a restaurant and cafe, and the North Wing later into a hotel.
1971 Hvitträsk, under care and ownership of Gerda and Salomo Wuorio Foundation, was opened to the public.
1981 The Finnish State purchased Hvitträsk. The Ministry of Education and Hvitträsk Foundation were in charge of the museum.
1996 Reparation, alteration and restoration work began in the residence and studio museum as directed by interior designer Markku Nors. The National Board of Antiquities participated as an expert.
1997–1998 The museum gardens were restored following landscape architect Gretel Hemgård’s design.
1999 The museum closed in the fall for renovations.
2000 In the beginning of the year Hvitträsk was transferred to the National Board of Antiquities and opened to the public after renovation in May 2000.
2002 The North Wing was renovated for seminar and conference use.