Summer is here and it was once again time for me to visit our capital Helsinki. However, there would be no visit to Helsinki without stopping by at an Alvar Aalto site. I paid visits to several Aalto buildings in Helsinki, many of them I have already presented in this blog earlier. Today I would like to present you a new building, a really outstanding one. According to the guide who showed me around, this particular building is considered by the Aalto Foundation as one of in its original design best preserved Aalto building in entire Finland. The building in question is the headquarters of the Social Insurance Institute of Finland also known as Kansaneläkelaitos or KELA in short. By the time build it was still called the National Pensions Institute of Finland. The building is located in the district of Töölö at Nordenskiöldenkatu 12. It was erected on a free spot and is therefore surrounded by much older buildings in a kind of triangel as you see on the picture taken from the air that was on display in the foyer of the building. The building stands out from its environment as it was kept in red brick:
To visit the building you can take any tram line heading from the city centre towards Töölö (lines 2,4,7A and 10), you have to get off at the building's own stop called "Kansaneläkelaitos", trams run every few minutes and the ride takes only about 10 minutes. Free guided tours are arranged 1-2 times a week, mainly on Mondays and Fridays at 2 pm. Visits however need to be arranged prior by e-mail through viestinta (at) kela.fi.
I had the luck to be able to participate in a guided tour. As there were no other participants, I even had a private tour. At this point I would like to say a big "thank you" to the friendly guide who answered all my questions and opened so many doors for me. But before having a look inside the building first some pictures from the outside. The building was designed in the early 1950s as there was need for a headquarters for the newly founded National Pensions Institute. It belongs to Aaltos red brick phase.
The inside of such a service cabin, the customer was seated on a very confortable Aalto design chair