Valter Thomé

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Valter Thomé.

Valter Thomé (5 August 1874 – 1 February 1918) was a Finnish architect who worked in the National Romantic or Art nouveau style.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Pudasjärvi and raised in Alajärvi, Thomé studied architecture at the Helsinki Polytechnic Institute, graduating in 1898.[1][2] As a trainee, he worked in the offices of, among others, Lars Sonck, the firm of Grahn, Hedman & Wasastjerna, and Onni Törnqvist (later known as Onni Tarjanne).[1] Like Sonck, he was an early proponent of the syncretic National Romantic style.[3] After opening his first architectural practice in Tampere with August Krook,[2] he later partnered in Helsinki with Karl Lindahl (1900–05), the Udd brothers (1909–12) and finally with his own brother Ivar (born 1882); the two of them were among the most successful architects in Finland in the early 20th century, designing numerous public buildings, business and industrial buildings and private villas. In addition, Valter Thomé collaborated with Bertel Jung and Sonck on what became an influential plan for the Töölö-Hietaniemi section of Helsinki; he later drew up city plans for Kotka, Savonlinna, Lappeenranta, Kristiinankaupunki, Naantali and Jyväskylä.[2] In 1916, he was one of the highest-taxed individuals in Helsinki.[1]

Valter Thomé, his brother Ivar and a third brother, William, founder of the Thomesto Oy timber company, were shot by Reds in Vihti during the Finnish Civil War while trying to cross to the White side of the line.[4] They were buried together in the New Cemetery in Helsinki.[2] A fourth brother, the artist Verner Thomé, was not with them and survived.

Selected works[edit]

  • (with Karl Lindahl) Oulu Market Hall (1901)[1][2]
  • Church, Perho[5]
  • (with Karl Lindahl) Polytechnic Students' Union, also called the Sampo Building and now known as the Vanha Poli (old poly), Lönnrotinkatu 29, Helsinki (1903),[1][2][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] with original furniture by Count Louis Sparre.[15] In the 1990s an interior courtyard was added and the building has since been a hotel.[1]
  • (with Karl Lindahl) Headquarters of Otava publishing company, Uudenmaankatu 10, Helsinki (1905)[1][2][6][16][17]
  • Pallas Building, Kirkkokatu 8, Oulu (1907)[18]
  • Hovinsaari folk school, Kotka (1908)
  • (with Udd Brothers) Flats, Annankatu 2, Helsinki (1911)[19]
  • (with Karl Lindahl) Headquarters of Suomi insurance company, Eteläesplanadi 2, Helsinki (1912), now headquarters of UPM[1][6]
  • (with Ivar Thomé) Varkaus town centre scheme (1913, revised 1917)[20]
  • (with Ivar Thomé), classical-style building with tile façade, Iso Roobertinkatu 25, Helsinki (1914)[21][22]
  • (with Ivar Thomé) Former Hotel Finlandia, Punkaharju (1914)[2][23]
  • Customs House, Kemi, now Kemi Gemstone Gallery
  • Approximately 25 banks for Suomen Yhdyspankki (Föreningsbanken i Finland), including in Turku, Oulu, Raahe and Lappeenranta.[1][24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Patrick Eriksson, "Thomé, Valter", Uppslagsverket Finland, retrieved 31 January 2013 (Swedish)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Ivar Hortling, Valter Thomé: en minnesteckning (1919), abbreviated by Miika Kurkela, online at Valter Thomé,, retrieved 1 February 2013 (Swedish)
  3. ^ Jeremy Howard, Art Nouveau: International and National Styles in Europe, Critical introductions to art, Manchester/New York: Manchester University Press, 1996, ISBN 9780719041600, p. 178.
  4. ^ Walter, Ivar Alfred and William Gustaf Thomé at War Victims in Finland, 1914–1922, retrieved 31 January 2013 (Finnish)
  5. ^ Perhon seurakunta,, retrieved 31 January 2013 (Finnish)
  6. ^ a b c T. Stz., "Lindahl, Karl Håkan Einar", Nordisk familjebok, Owl Edition, volume 37 Supplement: L – Riksdag, col. 197 (Swedish)
  7. ^ Howard, p. 181.
  8. ^ John Boulton Smith, The Golden Age of Finnish Art: Art Nouveau and the National Spirit, Helsinki: Otava, 1976, ISBN 9789511022831, p. 45.
  9. ^ James Maude Richards, A Guide to Finnish Architecture, New York: Praeger, 1967, OCLC 346187, p. 67.
  10. ^ Now the Light Comes from the North: Art Nouveau in Finland, ed. Ingeborg Becker and Sigrid Melchior, tr. Michael Loughridge, exhibition catalogue, Berlin: Bröhan Museum, [2002], ISBN 9783980789417, p. 66.
  11. ^ Innovation versus Tradition: The Architect Lars Sonck: Works and Projects 1900–1910, tr. Jüri Kokkonen, Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistyksen aikakauskirja 96, Helsinki: [Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistys], 1991, ISBN 9789519056999, p. 56.
  12. ^ Fabienne Chevallier, L'œuvre d'Eliel Saarinen en Finlande et la question de l'architecture nationale de 1898 à 1909, Histoire de l'art 12, Paris: Sorbonne, 2001, ISBN 9782859444235, p. 37.
  13. ^ Keijo Petäjä, Suomen Rakennustaiteen Museo, Helsinki: arkkitehtuuriopas / Helsingfors; architectural guide, 2nd ed. Helsinki: Otava, 1965, OCLC 23549141, p. 93.
  14. ^ Illustration, Nils Erik Wickberg, Finnish Architecture, Helsinki: Otava, 1962, OCLC 2807511, p. 114.
  15. ^ Dekorative Kunst 11 / Die Kunst 8: Angewandte Kunst (1903) pp. 136, 152 (German)
  16. ^ Valter Thomé, "Förlagsaktiebolagets Otavas hus i Helsingfors", Arkitekten Volume 6, issue 6, September 1908, pp. 79–80 (Swedish)
  17. ^ Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen, Vantaa: An Architectural Guide, ed. Arvi Ilonen, Suomen Rakennustaiteen Museo, tr. Laura Siilasvuo, Helsinki: Otava, 1990, ISBN 9789511107620, p. 57.
  18. ^ Arkitekten Volume 5, Issue 4, April 1907, pp. 44–45 (Swedish)
  19. ^ Annankatu 2 at (Finnish)
  20. ^ Varkaus, List of nationally significant cultural and historical environments, 1993 (Finnish)
  21. ^ Helsingfors stads historia, ed. Eirik Hornborg, Volume 4, Issue 1, OCLC 29101397, Helsinki: unnamed publisher, 1957, p. 88 (Swedish)
  22. ^ Riitta Nikula, Yhtenäinen kaupunkikuva 1900-1930: suomalaisen kaupunkirakentamisaen ihanteista ja päämääristä, esimerkkeinä Helsingin Etu-Töölö ja Uusi Vallila, Bidrag till kännedom av Finlands natur och folk 127, Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1981, ISBN 9789516531031, p. 51 (Finnish)
  23. ^ Finland, Eduskunta/Riksdagen, Handlingar Volume 1, Part 1, 1991, p. 133 (Swedish)
  24. ^ Hortling lists 22 locations but assigns them to three different banks.

Further reading[edit]

  • Ivar Hortling. Valter Thomé: en minnesteckning. Helsinki: Söderström, 1919. OCLC 58264244 (Swedish)
  • Jonathan Moorhouse, Michael Carapetian and Leena Ahtola-Moorhouse. Helsinki Jugendstil architecture, 1895–1915. Helsinki: Otava, 1987. ISBN 951-1-08382-1

External links[edit]

Media related to Valter Thomé at Wikimedia Commons