Friday, August 5, 2011

Aalto Summer Trip Part II

Night train to Rovaniemi
After a first great day visiting 13 Alvar Aalto sites in Seinäjoki and Alajärvi it was time to continue my trip towards my third Aalto destination Rovaniemi. The so called gate to Lappland is loacted slighly south from the polar circle, the night train depaturing Seinäjoki at 12.17 am needed seven and a half hours to bring me there while the distance was about 550 kilometres. The arrival in Rovaniemi next morning was at 7.48 am. After a short breakfast I walked from the railwaystation to the city centre and was welcomed by the impressive roof top of the Lappia Hall which is part of the Administrative and Cultural Centre of Rovaniemi designed by Alvar Aalto in the 1960s.

Site No. 31: Lappia Hall Rovaniemi (1969-76)

The Lappia Hall houses a theatre, a concert hall and a conference centre and is part of the Administrative and Cultural Centre of Rovaniemi located in Jorma Eton tie 8. What makes the design of the building architecturally so unique is the fell-shaped silhouette of the roof based on Aalto's idea of smoothing the shapes of buildings to adjust them into the surrounding landscape. Unfortunatelly the theatre was closed during the summer, the building could not be viewed from inside.

Site No. 32: Town Hall Rovaniemi (1963-88)

The town hall of Rovaniemi was build in the mid-1980s after Aalto's death but according to his original plans from the 1960s. The building has altogether 200 offices and 17 meeting rooms. According to Aalto's principles the basis of planning was man himself, the ones working in the building and visiting it. The lobby can be visited during the opening hours of the town hall.

Site No. 33: Libary Rovaniemi (1961-66)

The third building of the Administrative and Cultural Centre in Rovaniemi is the libary located between Lappia Hall and the town hall. The libary has the most significant collection of literature on Northern Europe. The fan-shaped roof, the special arrangement of the libary hall and the indirect illumination are typical elements of Aalto's architecture.

Site No. 34: Commercial and Residential Buildings (1958-63)

Beside the Administrative and Cultural Centre Aalto also planned some other buildings for the centre of Rovaniemi. Among those are three buildings located in Koskikatu 18 and 20 as well as in Jaakonkatu 3 mostly used as commerical and residential buildings. 

Koskikatu 18 and 20

A double house located at one of Rovaniemis main shopping streets housing several shops in the groud floor and appartments in the upper floors.

Jaakonkatu 3

Similar to the double house in Koskikatu and located basically just behind it is the building in Jaakonkatu 3.

My train back to the south in Rovaniemi
Finally after a 4 hours stay in Rovaniemi I had to get back to the station to catch the last day train back to Jyväskylä which left at 12.28 pm. With a slide delay I arrived back to Jyväskylä the same evening at 21.33 pm. Summarizing I must say this was a really great trip, I had the chance to discover 19 new Alvar Aalto buildings in three major Aalto cities here in Finland. Altoghether I have travelled around 1700 kilometres and spend about 23 hours in trains or busses. Beside Alvar Aalto's Architecture I have also met a lot of  interesting people and could discover new areas here in Finland where I haven't been before.

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