Saturday, December 17, 2011

Jyväskylä's Workers' Club (2)

Finally today I can present pictures from the inside of Jyväskylä's Worker Club. As already mentioned in earlier posts this facility is normally only open for special occasions. I had the luck to visit the inside of the building during the preparation for some event and to take some pictures as posted below:

Alvar Aalto in Turku (2)

After my first visit to Turku in Mai this year, I got now in December a second chance to visit this exiting town at the west coast of Finland again. Last time I already presented the first of altogether three buildings designed by Alvar Aalto in Turku the Office Building for Turun Sanomat Newspaper. Now it is time to present also the two buildings left. The participation in a EU-project brought me again to Turku and at this point I would like to thank the EU for paying the trip and the exiting stay in a hotel designed by Alvar Aalto!!! Yes you read right I spend a night in a Alvar Aalto building. A dream became true.

Site No. 38: Southwestern Finland Agricultural Cooperative Building in Turku (1927-28)

After my arrival at Turku railwaystation I had to find the Southwestern Finland Agricultural Cooperative Building located in Humalistonkatu 7 because this was not only my place for spending the night we also had our EU-project's meeting in that building.

The meeting took place in Alvarium a conference and meeting center which is located in the ground floor of this very building. The building is not anymore used as for what it was originally designed for by Alvar Aalto. While nowadays different shops and restaurants found a new home in the ground floor, the upper floors are manly used for accomodation a hotel. Even so the function of the building has changed over the years and many things have been rebuild still some of the typical elements of Aalto's early works can be seen. Here are now some pictures from the entrance hall of Alvarium:

After the meeting and a fine christmas dinner it was time to accomodate the hotel. The hotel is run by the Finnish low-cost hotel chain "Omenahotelli" or apple-hotels. Unfortunatelly the hotel did not show any elements of Alvar Aalto's work, inside it looked like any other hotel as you can see in the pictures below:

After a good night sleep in this very Alvar Aalto building the next morning started with a proper breakfast. Then it was time to discover the third building designed by Alvar Aalto in Turku.

Site No. 39: Standard Apartment House in Turku (1927-28)

This apartment house is located in the city center of Turku in a silent side road surrounded by many other residental buildings. That was also why I passed by several times before I finally realized that I already found the building I was looking for. The address is Läntinen Pitkäkatu 20. The building itself does not look any special, there are some shops in the groud floor and appartments in the upper floors.Unfortunatelly the weather was not that great during my stay in Turku, the quality of the pictures are quite bad and i apologise for that.

During a third visit to Turku in July 2013 I finally could re-do the outside shots under much better weather conditions than when I was there the last time in December 2011.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The First Year

Exactly today one year ago I started with this blog. The idea of this blog was stated in my first post: To visit all buildings designed by Alvar Alvar in the world, altogether 80 sites. So far I visited 37 sites, all of them located in Finland. This summer I visited all major Aalto cities: Helsinki, Seinäjoki, Alajärvi, Rovaniemi and of course my current home town Jyväskylä. Especially in Jyväskylä I visited many sites for a second time and some of them like my University even every day. Hereby I have taken many additional pictures which I have now added to the existing ones. I have basically redesigned most of my older posts from last year and the early one's from this year. Just go, have a look and enjoy! Also in the coming year several visits to exiting Aalto sites are already planned so stay tunned!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Aalto in Muurame

Site No. 37: Muurame Church (1926-29)

Today was a really nice and sunny autumn day and I decided to make a littel trip with the local bus to visit Muurame. Muurame is a small town about 15 kilometres south-west from Jyväskylä and it takes about 20 minutes by city-bus to get there. In Muurame one of Aalto's early works can be found the Muurame Church built in the late 1920s. Located not far from the city centre of Muurame the church stands on a hill quite well covered by trees. The church is located at Kirkkotie 7 not far from Highway 9 Jyväskylä-Tampere.

In 1924 Alvar Aalto visited Italy for the first time and he was impressed by the architettura minore of small, simple churches in rural settings. Many of his travell impression were realized in the design of these very church. This can quite easily be seen by the design of the tall tower common in Italy but also by the renaissance architectural elements used at the side-entrance area as shown in the picture below.

During a second visit in Summer 2012 - this time by bicycle - I had the chance to get also an view of the insight of Muurame Church:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Aalto's Experimental House

Site No. 36: Muuratsalo Experimental House (1952-54)

Entrance ticket
Aalto's Experitmental House can be found around 20 kilometre south from Jyväskylä in Muuratsalo. Alvar and his wife Elissa Aalto had their summer home built on the island of Muuratsalo in the early 1950s. Also nowadays Aalto's offsprings are using the site to spend their summer vacation. Anyhow three times a week during the summer the site is open also for visitors but the area can only be entered with a guide and visits have to be arranged beforehand through the Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyväskylä. On a nice summer day about a week ago I decided to make a bicycle tour towards Muuratsalo. Before I left Jyväskylä I had to register for the guided tour at the Aalto Museum. After my place was confirmed I left for the 20 kilometre ride which took me about an hour and a half. Just at the right time at 1.30 pm I arrived at the gate of the estate where the Experimental House is located. The guided tour took about 45 minutes and the guide showed us first the boat designed by Alvar Aalto in the 1950s which was unfortunatelly not in such a good shape. The boats name is "Nemo propheta in patria" and was a revolutinary design the time it was build. The boat is stored in a special hangar designed by two young Norwegian architects to protect it from further destruction as displayed in the pictures below.

Next the guide showed us the smoke sauna which was also designed by Aalto. Commonly saunas in Finland are four-sided little buildings but this sauna is different as it has five corners. The sauna is still used by the Aalto family and sometimes exclusively also by executives from Jyväskylä.On the top of the building trees are growing, this was intended by Aalto so that the building does better fit into its environment.

Finally we arrived at the Experimental House which is surrounded by trees such as the entire estate is covered by forest and very nicely located by the lake. Thus this was the summer home of Aalto to rest during the summer in this house he carried out experiments and try out new methods of construction as displayed in the pictures below.

A lot of  ideas have been realized in various buildings and it is truely interesting to see this kind of "playground" where Aalto experimented with new ideas and had first a look how this and that would harmonize before building it in a large scale. Visiting this experimental house is a real must for any Alvar Aalto fan. Also the inside of the building was viewable and most of the interior was still like in the 1950s when Aalto spend his summers there. It is needless to mention that also the interior and all the furniture were designed by the owner himself.