At the beginning of the 1900s, more affluent folk developed an interest in the idea of garden cities and the model adopted came to include naturally beautiful residential areas with good traffic connections to the city centre. Saarinen was tasked with designing a European-style community of villas with its broad boulevards as well as terraced houses and low-rise apartment blocks. To balance the urban-like environment, residents would be able to enjoy verdant parks, open spaces and fountains.
The world wars, Finland's independence and the political unrest during the civil war eroded Saarinen's vision brick by brick. There was nevertheless enough time to build a boarding house in Munkkiniemi, which later served as a school for cadets (Kadettikoulu). The most magnificent stone building in Munkkiniemi was a perfect fit for the majestic environment, and the wonderful interiors were designed by Saarinen himself. The master's handiwork is visible in every detail, from the furniture to the ceiling decorations and lamps. There was also time to finish the terraced houses on Hollantilaisentie and even the Puistotie street was quarried as far as the Laajalahti square.
The boarding house by the sea began providing full board and refreshment to the city's residents and people arriving from more far-away locations. In 1919, a travel magazine described the boarding house in the following way: "In terms of its size, the Munkkiniemi boarding house is probably the one of the biggest in Finland. It can easily cater to 100 guests. The rooms are spacious and modern amenities have been carefully considered. Therefore, most rooms are equipped with private bathrooms and convenience facilities, not to mention spacious offices. The furniture is wholly novel and different in every room, all made according to the drawings of architect Eliel Saarinen." The boarding house is known to have provided lodgings for at least writer V.A. Koskenniemi and the British consul Charles James Cook. During the austere post-war years, the boarding house was driven to bankruptcy and transferred into the use of the cadet school.
In 1947–1976, the building was renovated under the supervision of the National Board of Antiquities. While its façade remained unchanged, the interiors were given a complete overhaul, and the lobby and dining hall, for instance, were restored to their original appearance. In 1976, the building was given to the use of the State Training Centre. Nowadays, the premises are used by the Finnish Institute of Public Management (HAUS), a state-owned company established in 2002 as a replacement to the State Training Centre.