After touring Europe for so many Aalto sites last summer it is once again time to provide some updates on some of the buildings here in Jyväskylä. Today, I would like to write about a very special Aalto building here in Jyväskylä that has undergone an extensive renovation and is now shining again in its original state. The building in question is the Main Building of the University of Jyväskylä, often refereed to C-building. Just recently I learned the meaning behind the C and was surprised that C stands for Capitolium. Using this building for so many years during my studies here at the University of Jyväskylä and now after years of renovation for festivities that are held at the university, I never spend time on thinking about why this building is simply called C. Anyhow the name makes sense as the building is the administrative heart of the University of Jyväskylä as the rector's office is located here. Another good reason for the name is the large auditorium that seats over 700 people.
This building was erected in the mid-late 1950s as part of the master plan of the new university main campus that was designed by Alvar Aalto. After many years of use the building went under renovation in 2013. This was necessary to solve indoor air problems and to create new learning environments that serve better today's needs. Because the building is in the highest possible protection class the original structures, surfaces and furnishing were preserved carefully during the entire renovation. This is why it is not surprising that the renovation of the 9100 square meter building took more than 4 years and ended just in summer 2017.
Finally in September 2017 the building was again put back in use, however, not without celebrating the return of our university's most important building. Being a staff member of the University of Jyväskylä, I had the privilege to take a look behind the scenes at the day of the re-opening. Before having a closer look at the interior I would like to start with some impression of the exterior.
The large auditorium is window-less, apart from the roof windows which are usually covered. It is kept in red brick with wooden floors and seats kept in the same blue that we saw already in the coat room. The seats in the upper section, however, feature black leather. Interesting to point out is also the lighting system. Finally, I also have to mention the great acoustics. On the night of the re-opening the university organized the opening celebrations of the academic year in this building to which all university staff members were invited. There was first a musical performance in the large auditorium and what amazed me about this was that the musicians did not had to use any microphones due to the outstanding acoustics reaching also the audience seated at the very end of the hall.