Bruno Granholm


May 28, 2022

Bruno Ferdinand Granholm (May 14, 1857 Storm - September 29, 1930 Helsinki) was a Finnish architect who served as the chief architect of the Railway Administration from 1892 to 1926. The wooden railway station buildings designed by Granholm at the turn of the 20th century are still in use. Many of the timber-framed station buildings designed by Granholm have stood the test of time surprisingly well. Life and career as an architect Bruno Granholm was born in Myrskylä on May 14, 1857. He studied at the Polytechnic School in Helsinki and worked during his studies at the Railway Mechanical Workshop and later at the offices of various architects (including Theodor Höijer). Granholm graduated from the Polytechnic in 1882. In 1892 Granholm was elected draftsman to the Railway Board. In the same year he was appointed architect of the Railway Board. From 1895, Granholm served on the superintendent of civil engineering as the design of station buildings.

Granholm's career in the railway board

Granholm's first plans for the railways were a drawing made in 1893 for a Vyborg machine shop. Granholm drew a large number of extensions of the stations in the 1890s and 1910s. The same type extension drawings were used in several different locations. The first new line section for which Granholm designed station buildings was Haapamäki – Jyväskylä / Jyväskylä – Suolahti in 1895-1896. The drawings of the stations are dated 1896. At the stations of the railway section, the purpose of the rooms remained the same, but their architectural appearance changed. This is very well reflected at Jyväskylä station. The station is architecturally diverse, asymmetrical, and the decoration focused on the frames and ends of the doors and windows. The decorations were created by carving and notching. Compared to the former stations, the solutions clearly represented the wood style of their time. However, on the Helsinki-Turku section, which was built a few years later, the stations began to simplify in shape and the national romantic materials to shrink. Granholm also designed station buildings for the Kuopio – Iisalmi – Kajaani (1898–1902 and 1902–1904), Oulu – Tornio (1899–1904) and Savonlinna – Elisenvaara (1905–1908) sections. The Punkaharju station, designed in 1906, shows a clear stylistic change in Granholm’s architecture: the details of the stations became Art Nouveau, but the national romantic elements were still clearly involved. According to Granholm's drawings, there are also some station buildings on other sections of the line (for example, Nummela, Rajajoki and Terijoki stations). In Helsinki, Granholm designed one of Pasila's machine shops, one of his largest works. Bruno Granholm Square and Bruno Granholm Alley now appear in the street scene of the non-railway workshop. Other buildings designed by Granholm: Restaurant Kappel's glass pavilions, Helsinki 1891 VR's magazines, Helsinki Toralinna, Helsinki Railway House, Tampere Old freight station, Tampere Morkku, Tampere


In Granholm's plans, the station and residential buildings retained the former floor plans, but the appearance was decorated with national romantic, even ancient Scandinavian, decorative motifs. The buildings represent a national romantic style (the so-called Nikkar style) as opposed to the neo-Renaissance style, which was strongly influenced at the time and mimicked the architecture of stone construction. The ornamentation of the station buildings designed by Granholm draws inspiration from Karelian role models, although the dot and engraving patterns also belonged to the traditional Swiss style. Symmetrical construction was abandoned, pediments and canopies became fashionable, and decoration was used extensively for window frames and consoles. The internationality of the influences says that similar