The Aalto Route – self-guided tour
Alvar Aalto’s (1898–1976) career as an architect and designer in Finland and abroad was exceptionally diverse and extensive. The Aalto Route follows in his footsteps, from classicism to modernism and from brick architecture to monumentalism. The route offers an insight into the cityscape and architecture of Jyväskylä.
Fostering his heritage, the Alvar Aalto Museum is an excellent place to begin your journey into his creativity. The Alvar Aalto Museum building in Jyväskylä houses a specialist museum of architecture and design that serves as a national and international centre for information about Aalto. Together with the nearby Museum of Central Finland, it constitutes a fascinating cultural centre located near the heart of Jyväskylä.
The nearby Seminaarinmäki campus is one of the most beautiful and architectonically interesting university areas in Finland. After the Second World War, the university – then known as the College of Education – attracted increasing numbers of students. For this reason, it needed additional facilities and a competition by invitation was held for architects. Alvar Aalto won the competition and the buildings included in his design were completed on Seminaarinmäki, Seminar Hill, between 1951 and 1970.
From Seminaarinmäki, the route continues to the cultural and administrative block in the city centre. The block is based on a design completed by Aalto in the 1960s. The police headquarters, municipal office building and city theatre were all elements included in his original design. The block is one of the four cultural and administrative centres designed by Aalto in Finland.
Located around 15 kilometres from the centre of Jyväskylä, Säynätsalo Town Hall is definitely worth visiting. One of Aalto’s most significant works, this unique building attracted attention even before its completion in 1951 and has continued to attract visitors from all over the world ever since.
Museum Centre: The Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland
The Alvar Aalto Museum operates in two cities: Jyväskylä and Helsinki. It is made up of four sites open to the public. The Alvar Aalto museum building in Jyväskylä houses a specialist museum of architecture and design that serves as a national and international centre for information about Aalto. It is located on a slope by Jyväsjärvi lake. Alvar Aalto finalised his designs for the museum building in 1973. The Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland (Aalto 1961) form a cultural centre in the vicinity of the University of Jyväskylä (Aalto 1951–1971). The Museum of Central Finland specialises in cultural history and serves as a regional museum and a city museum. As well as exhibitions, it is involved in research, archiving and teaching.
Seminaarinkatu 15, 40014 Jyväskylä
tel. +358 (0)14 260 1211 (switchboard)
Seminaarinmäki is located in the Mattilanpelto district of Jyväskylä. The Seminaarinmäki campus, the oldest campus area of the University of Jyväskylä, is often regarded as the most beautiful in Finland. New buildings were constructed on Seminaarimäki, Seminar Hill, when colleges began to attract growing numbers of students after the Second World War. Designed by Alvar Aalto, the campus buildings on Seminaarinmäki were completed between 1951 and 1970. They were modelled on the American campus concept.
The Administrative Block
In 1972, Alvar Aalto prepared a design for an administrative centre in Jyväskylä. The municipal office building, the city theatre and the former police headquarters, now known as Tietotalo, were included in his design. His original design for the administrative centre also incorporated Jyväskylä City Hall, which was completed as early as 1899. The extensive renovation of the city hall was completed in spring 2013.
Vapaudenkatu 32, 40100 Jyväskylä
tel. +358 (0)14 266 7117 (information desk)
Completed in 1899, Jyväskylä City Hall has been under the protection of a city plan since 1998. It is a significant part of the built cultural environment in Jyväskylä. You can familiarise yourself with the architecture of the city hall and its extensive renovation by going on a guided tour.
Vapaudenkatu 36, 40100 Jyväskylä
tel. +358 (0)14 266 0110 (ticket office)
kaupunginteatteri (at) jkl.fi
The city theatre building was completed in 1982, six years after Aalto’s death. It has two stages: a main stage with 551 seats and a small stage with 98 seats. The entrance hall and foyer are open to visitors.
Hannikaisenkatu 17, 40100 Jyväskylä
The Rakentajantalo building was designed by Aalto to serve as a flexible office and administrative building. It is currently in office use.
Tietotalo (former police headquarters)
Kilpisenkatu 1, 40100 Jyväskylä
The former police headquarters, now known as Tietotalo, is one of the buildings included in Aalto’s original design for the administrative centre in Jyväskylä. Completed in 1970, it represented a new type of solution, as it resembled an ordinary office or city building instead of a law-enforcement building. In other words, it had a more pleasant appearance than typical police headquarters. The building is currently in office use, with the entrance hall open to visitors. You can enjoy a delicious lunch on the ground floor on weekdays.
Säynätsalo Town Hall
Parviaisentie 9, 40900 Säynätsalo
Säynätsalo Town Hall is one of Aalto’s most significant works. It was designed and constructed between 1949 and 1952. This unique building attracted attention even during its construction. It is a truly multipurpose building: as well as local administration offices and the local library, it houses flats, commercial facilities and guest rooms. Aalto wanted the town hall’s architecture to highlight its functionality. Säynätsalo Town Hall was designed for the people while also serving as an administrative centre.
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