The main structure of the Helsinki University is situated in front of the State Council, at the western side of Senate Square. The building in Empire style was constructed in 1832 under Engel's project. Its facade is decorated with ionic columns, which repeat the composition and proportions of the State Council thus emphasizing the classical style of the square.
The Helsinki University is more than 365 years old. Earlier it was located in the city of Turku but after the university's building had been destroyed with fire the university was moved to Helsinki. The building at Senate Square was primarily supposed to be the Russia governor-general's residence, but Emperor Nicolas I decided to give it to the Helsinki University. In 1937 the University's building was enlarged from the side of Fabianinkatu Street. This project was designed by known Finnish architect Johan Siren, who was also the architect of the Parliament's building.
The University's interior has partly preserved features of classicism - such as grandiosely decorated main hall with its Doric colonnade and copies of antique statues placed at staircases. The assembly hall of the building was seriously damaged by bombing in 1944, but reconstructed to 1948. Long ago this assembly hall hosted premieres of famous Finnish composer Jan Sibelius, concerts of Maler and Stravinsky.
In 1990 when the Helsinki University celebrated its 350th anniversary the older part of the University's building was thoroughly reconstructed.