ICOMOS puts historic Malmi airport in the spotlight of the world’s endangered cultural heritage

Mar 11, 2021
Photo: Sampo Kiviniemi

ICOMOS, the highest-level expert organization in the field of cultural heritage and a direct advisor of UNESCO’s World Heritage Program, has brought the active Helsinki-Malmi Airport into the international spotlight in its new Heritage at Risk World Report 2016-2019 on Monuments and Sites in Danger.

The report mentions Malmi as one of the best-preserved pre-World War II international airports in the world, highlighting the cultural heritage value of the uniquely original airport complex that has previously been awarded significant recognition by Heritage Finland (Built Cultural Heritage of National Significance RKY 1993, RKY 2009) and several international cultural heritage expert organisations and networks: DoCoMoMo (1993), World Monuments Fund (2004, 2006) and Europa Nostra (2016).

Malmi Airport is the only RKY site in the capital for which the Helsinki General Plan 2016 was left in force in the administrative court hearings, ignoring the intended guiding effect of the RKY listing at all levels of land use planning. The decision was reached in the Supreme Administrative Court in an unusual manner by vote, against the proposal of the rapporteur. In more detailed zoning, the cultural heritage values of the RKY area have not been taken into account.