Thursday, June 16, 2016

Alvar Aalto in Hämeelinna

Site No. 59: Housing for Yhteis-Sisu Corporation in Hämeelinna (1956-58)

Almost a year has passed since I visited the last time a new Alvar Aalto site but finally I am back with more. I spent the past weekend in Hämeenlinna where one of my closest friends was celebrating his wedding. I have been visiting Hämeelinna numerous times before but never found the time to visit the housing area that was designed by Alvar Aalto for the workers of Yhteis-Sisu Corporation. As the site can only be reached by car, I was glad that I could borrow my friend's car and drive to the suburb of Hongisto some 5 kilometers from the city centre of Hämeelinna. If you want to drive there from Hämeelinna take the E12 highway towards Helsinki until the intersection with street 10. Head east on street 10 until you reach a traffic circle and take then the first turn onto street 290. Again take the first turn right which comes after 500 meters. Don't drive into the factory yard but instead turn right and then left again. Just go on for about 50 meters and you reach the destination.

The site in question is a set of three row houses that were build in the late 1950s. The houses seem not to be occupied anymore as they appeared empty to me. Also the condition of the buildings wasn't anymore that great. Some doors were even left open.

Nevertheless a few interesting wooden elements let one imagine that these houses were not just designed by some ordinary architect but by Alvar Aalto. Nevertheless, typical Aalto elements couldn't be detected. It was a pity to find these houses in such a bad shape.