Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Ultimative Jyväskylä Aalto Walk

City of Jyväskylä
Today I would like to invite you to join me for a walk through the city which has the most Alvar Aalto buildings in the world, Jyväskylä. Not only has Jyväskylä a university designed by Alvar Aalto but also the swimming hall, the city museum, the city theater, the police station, the long time tallest building of the town as well as Aalto's own museum and many other buildings are designed by him. Before leaving my beloved Aalto city for one year and in honnor to an architect and co-fan of Aalto's work who visited me in Jyväskylä I took this walk which I documented in pictures. These pictures I want to share with you today while also giving some instructions how to follow the route so that you can do your own Aalto walk in case you planning to visit Jyväskylä and want to see more of Aalto's work than just the museum and the university. All the buildings presented in this walk can easily reached by foot so leave your car at the Aalto museum. To complete the walk and in order to have enough time to admire the architecture you should however plan at least half a day because there is a lot to see. Altogether we will look at 15 different buildings!

Against the direction of the original walk I will start this time from the Alvar Aalto museum because this is most likely your first stop when visiting Jyväskylä. It is also a good starting point in this sense as the museum gives you already a good overview of many of the buildings you are going to see, providing you the necessary background information and interesting pictures and artifacts of the design and building phases of the different buildings.

1. Alvar Aalto Museum (Alvar Aallon Katu 7)

The ultimative place to visit for every Aalto fan. Not only tells the museum the story about Alvar Aalto's life and displays his work through many pictures, scale size models and furniture, lamps and glassware designed by Alvar Aalto, even the building itself was entirely designed by the architect himself. Besides that regular changing exhibitions make it worth visiting the museum more than once in case you have the chance.

Don't miss the cafeteria downstairs and the shop next to the cashier. For those ones on a budget, the admissions is always free on Fridays between October and May. For more information check also here.

More information and pictures also from inside can be found here

2. Central Finland Museum (Alvar Aallon Katu 7)

As you might notice from the address the next building cannot be far. Indeed the Central Finland Museum is just located next to the Alvar Aalto museum. If you have the time don't hesitate to have a look inside. The exhibition tells the story about the Central Finland region and Jyväskylä itself and has always interesting changing exhibitions on the ground and third floor. Also here as a small hint, the museum follows the same policy as the Alvar Aalto museum by offering free entrance on Fridays between October and May.

More information and pictures also from inside can be found here

3. University of Jyväskylä, Faculty of Sports and Health Sciences (Keskussairalantie 4)

Also the next Aalto building isn't far all you need to do to get there is taking the stairs about 30 meters left from the Central Finland Museum's main doors and cross the street above the hill using the pedestrian light.

Now you are entering the University of Jyväskylä main campus. The first building we want to look at is the Faculty of Sports and Health Science building which was the last building designed by Alvar Aalto for the University of Jyväskylä. Go and have a look inside its impressive lobby and take a little walk around.

More information and pictures also from inside can be found here

4. University of Jyväskylä, Former Student Dormitory & Student Cafeteria Lozzi

Just on the opposite site you will find the red-brick building of the former student dormitory and if you keep walking alongside the building you will eventually ran into the student cafeteria Lozzi. Go inside and have a look at the fantastic cafeteria in the second floor and enjoy maybe a cup of coffee or even have lunch there in case the place isn't too crowded with students. However, please note that Lozzi is currently under renovation and will reopen in 2015 so the access to the area around the building might be restricted.

More information and pictures also from inside can be found here

5. University of Jyväskylä, Staff Meeting Hall "Lyhty"

Right next to Lozzi is the small extension called Lyhty, have a walk around, it is an interesting building.

More information and pictures also can be found here

6. University of Jyväskylä, Swimming Hall "Aalto Alvari" (Pitkäkatu 2)

Before approaching the main building of the University which is right in front of Lyhty lets quickly take a turn to the left walking around the sports ground passing by the Teaching Practice School and Gymnasium on the right. Pass by the barrier and turn then left and you will directly head towards the main entrance of the swimming hall. If you have enough time, go and take a swim in a Alvar Aalto designed swimming hall. Otherwise to see most of the architecture you can just pass by the cashier on the left and walk straight towards the cafeteria. From there you can see most of the swimming hall's interior. Take also a short walk around the building it is definitely worth it.

More information and pictures also from inside can be found here

7. University of Jyväskylä, Teacher Practice School and Gymnasium

We already passed by the building but let's now come back to it while returning towards the sports ground. These red-brick building can be found on the left side of the sports ground when approaching from the swimming hall. While there have a look at the architecture, some elements might remind you about Greek architecture and indeed this building is one of the reasons why Jyväskylä is called the "Athens of Finland".

More information and pictures also from inside can be found here

8. University of Jyväskylä, Main Building (Seminaarikatu 15)

Finally we will return to the main building which is directly connected to the Teacher Practice School. You can enter the building (unfortunately currently under renovation until 2015) through the back door and have a look inside the huge lobby which features also a small cafeteria. Hungry again? You might also get the chance to have a look at the Aalto library. However, definitely don't miss the main entrance of the building which is really magnificent.

More information and pictures also from inside can be found here

Leaving the University of Jyväskylä behind we will now have to walk a bit before reaching the next Aalto building. However our path follows Jyväskylä's high street so you can be sure to also get to know Jyväskylä while wandering on Aalto's traces. Leave the university main building through the main entrance and start walking down the hill passing by some of the oldest building of the University of Jyväskylä dating back to the 1860s. Once you reach the end of the campus keep on walking straight down Kauppakatu for several block until you reach church park which is on the right. You can't miss it as you can see the red-brick church standing in the middle of the park.

9. Administrative and Culture Center, Jyväskylä Theater (Vapaudenkatu 36)   

Jyväskylä Town Hall
Enter the park and head towards the church, pass it on the right side and you will directly look at the next Alvar Aalto site, the Administrative and Culture Center of Jyväskylä. On the right by the way is the freshly renovated town hall which is worth a look as well. The Jyväskylä Theater is probably the most outstanding of the three buildings forming the Administrative and Cultural Center that was designed by Alvar Aalto. Have a closer look at the theater and in case the front door is open don't hesitate to enter the lobby to see more of this great building. Another great place to see more of the building is also from the terrace which you can enter through the park on the right side. From there you get also a good view on the other two buildings as well as the harbour of Jyväskylä.

More information and pictures also here

10. Administrative and Cultural Center, City Offices (Hannikaisenkatu 15)

Cross the park behind the Theater and head first to the right. You will end up right in front of the second building of the Administrative and Cultural Center, the City Offices. This kind of administrative buildings are often quite unspectacular in their design, this building however has a lot of interesting details to detect so take some time having a look at the exterior.

More information and pictures also here

11. Administrative and Cultural Center, Former Police Headquarters    (Hannikaisenkatu 17)

Finally have a look at the third building which is to the right of the City Theater. This is the Former
Police Headquarters which is nowadays also used by the city administration. Take a look at its architecture, especially the entrance area at the street corner is interesting. Inside you will also find a cafeteria.

More information and pictures also here

12. Defense Corps Building (Kilpisenkatu 8)

Not far from the Administrative and Cultural Center is the Defense Corps Building. Not necessarily a beauty and in rather bad shape but as it is on our way we should cover it. Walk up the street from the corner of the Former Police Headquarters towards the main entrance of the City Theater. Cross the street and return to the church park. Walk up another 30 meters and look toward the opposite side of the street where you will see a building covered in some sheeting. This is one of the oldest Aalto buildings in town. Cross the street and have a look at the entrance door which is very interesting. Otherwise due to the covering you won't see much of the building. Believe me however, since the covering the building looks much better than before.

More information and pictures also here

13. Jyväskylä Worker's Club (Väinönkatu 7)

Follow the street upwards for another 50 meters and turn right, you will directly enter the walking
street, one of the nicest parts of Jyväskylä. Take your time, have a look around while you stroll down the lively street. Cross the center point of the city called the Compass and head down until the next crossing then turn right. Just around the corner you will look at the next Aalto building the Jyväskylä Worker's Club. Looking at this building might give you the impression that you have just arrived to Italy. This building could also stand in Venice. Take your time and admire the structure and the fact that this building does absolutely not fit into the surrounding street picture which makes it so special. Have also a closer look at the entrance doors on the left and if you are lucky they aren't locked and you might even have the chance for a short look at the wonderful interior of the Aalto Hall.

More information and pictures also here

14. Aira Apartment House, Railway Workers' Building (Tapionkatu 2)

Now it is time to leave the city center behind. Follow Väinönkatu upwards, take the next crossing and keep going straight all the way up the hill for about 250 meters. Follow the street until it starts to make a slight turn towards the right. Still keep walking uphill for about another 20 meters, then turn to the right and you end up right in front of the next Aalto building. This apartment house was designed for railway workers and at first sight it looks just like any other apartment building from the 1920s. However, if you start to look more closely you will be surprised how many interesting and little details you might find. Have a look around the building and its backyard.

More information and pictures also here

15. Viitatorni High-Rise Apartment Building (Viitaniementie 16)

Finally one more to go. This will take a slightly longer walk and you might feel tired but believe me it is absolutely worth it because we are going to see the tallest building in town, it was at least for many years until just recently. Follow the same street you came from the city centre until the next bigger crossing. Change the sidewalk by crossing the street to use the tunnel passing under the street. After the tunnel keep walking the same direction on and on. At some point the street starts to decent and when you expect it the least just to your left the Viitatorni High-Rise Apartment Building will appear. You won't miss this 13 stories building. Take your time and walk around it, try to look at it from different angles. Unfortunately it is very hard getting inside, unless some nice resident might open the front door for you but more than the lobby you won't be able to see from inside either.

More information and pictures also here

Well this is it. I hope you enjoyed this ultimative Aalto walk through Jyväskylä and give me perhaps some feedback in case you followed my recommendations, telling me how it was. If you are planning to stay longer in Jyväskylä and want to see even more Aalto sites, there are three more places you should visit. These are the Säynätsalo Town Hall, Muuramme Church and of course the Experimental House in Muuratsalo. You can reach the first two sites by bus from Jyväskylä, the third site however, is more difficult to reach and you can only enter the area when there is a guided tour for which you need to be registered beforehand. Tours are only operated during the summer at selected days. Besides the buildings presented above Aalto has designed also a few other buildings in and around Jyväskylä. These however, are mainly private buildings and not open for the public and therefore not mentioned in the list above.

No comments:

Post a Comment