Friday, March 18, 2011

(My) Life designed by Alvar Aalto

Site No. 15: The University of Jyväskylä (Former Institute of Pedagogics)

Today I will present the biggest Aalto site in Jyväskylä - the maincampus of the University of Jyväskylä. The site located at Seminaarinkatu 15 consists of six different buildings which were build between 1952 and 1971. This six are: The Main Building (1954-56), The Teaching Practice School and Gymnasium (1952-54), The Philologica - The Former Student Dormitory combined with the Students' Cafeteria "Lozzi" (1952-54), The Staff Meeting Hall "Lyhty", The Swimming Hall "Aalto Alvari" (1954-64 with extensions in the 70s and 80s) as well as the Building for The Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences (1971).

Still doing my Master's at the University of Jyväskylä I am basically using almost all this buildings on a daily base. Working on my thesis in the "Aalto Libary" which is located in The Main Building, sitting on chairs and working on a table designed by Alvar Aalto. Having lunch in the Students' Cafeteria "Lozzi" whichs interiour was designed by Alvar Aalto in the 1950s and is still in use. Crossing the big entrance hall of The Main Building on the way to my lecture which takes place in The Teaching Practice School and going to swim to the "Aalto Alvari" Swimming Hall in the afternoon. Alvar Aaltos architecture is indeed part of my life and I enjoy it every day!

The Main Building of the University of Jyväskylä (1954-56)

Pictures from the main entrance of The Main Building as seen when approaching the University coming from downtown Jyväskylä. For me it is hard to belief that this building was designed in the early 1950s, in my opinion it looks much modern.

Here are now some pictures from the back of the main building. Many people are wondering why Aalto didn't place any windows on this side of the building. I had once the chance to take part in a guided tour around our Universities campus and the guide told us that Alvar Aalto basically wanted separate the University for downtown Jyväskylä, keeping it as a world of its own. Aalto expressed this idea by building this windowless wall.

Here are now some impressions from the entrance hall of The Main Building. Inside The Main Building a auditorium with over 700 seats can be found whose acoustics is by the way really resounding.

Finally some pictures from the "Aalto Libary" were I am currently spending many hours every day working on my final thesis, I almost could call it my second home :-)


  1. hi, i'm an architecture student currently doing a case study on the main building at Jyvaskyla university. What do you mean by "Alvar Aalto basically wanted separate the University for downtown Jyväskylä, keeping it as a world of its own" when you explained why he didn't place any windows on that side of the main building?

    1. Hi Angela, thank you for your comment. I got this information from a guided tour along the main campus. As the main street (Kauppakatu) leading from the city centre towards the university ends in front of the main building, Aalto wanted to create a barrier between the street and the "inner yard" (sports field) of the main campus. Therefore he created this windowless wall. On the other end of the "inner yard" he created the faculty of sports and health science building to close the loop. I hope this explanation was helpful. Good luck with you case study!