Bike Journey to Alvar Aalto 

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Aira house

 

Alvar Aalto (1898–1976), one of the best-known Finnish architects and designers in the world, lived and studied in Jyväskylä. In total, there are nearly 30 buildings designed by Alvar Aalto in the Jyväskylä region – ranging from his earliest work to designs made during his final stages. These include both private properties and public buildings, such as the Jyväskylä City Theatre, the University campus and AaltoAlvari Aquatic Centre. What is more, Alvar Aalto set up his first architects' office in Jyväskylä in 1923.

Currently, Jyväskylä is known as a city of sports, and the region offers varied bicycle and hiking trails for people of all skill levels. What better way to see the works of the renowned architect than a bicycle tour? The beautiful lake landscape colours the hilly terrain, and the region offers a number of bicycle and hiking trails popular among the locals.

Our Alvar Aalto bicycle tour lets you see the centre of Jyväskylä, while showing off the architecture of Alvar Aalto in different city districts. The bicycle tour starts at the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland, continuing to the centre of Jyväskylä and towards the lake landscapes of Taulumäki and Viitaniemi. The tour then returns to the city centre, visiting the University of Jyväskylä, one of the most architecturally interesting campus areas in Finland.

Hop in and experience our architectural Bike Journey. Click here to see the whole route.

 

Destinations

Alvar Aalto Museum 1971-73
(Alvar Aallon katu 7)

Museum building is one of Alvar Aalto´s later period works. When the building was completed in 1973, the museum exhibited both art and architecture. Today the muse-um is dedicated exclusively to showcasing Aalto´s lifetime achievements.

 

Museum of Central Finland 1957-61, extension 1990
(Alvar Aallon katu 7)

The Museum of Central Finland functions as the City museum of Jyväskylä and as the provincial museum of Central Finland. The building was completed in 1961 in accordance with Aalto´s plans.
Did you know? There was a rumour in the opening ceremony of the museum that Aalto has said this museum to be the second best museum in the world. When he was asked that what is the best museum then, he said: ”I haven´t designed that yet!”

 

Casa Laurén 1925-28
(Vapaudenkatu 12)

Alvar Aalto designed the building for two families in 1925. Interesting themes of the house were for example high staircase, classical arcadian roofs, a fence with decora-tion and an arch gate. Since the 1950´s the building has been changed little by little, and today it´s very difficult to find Aalto´s design in the house.

 

Jyväskylä Administrative and Cultural centre 1964-82
(Vapaudenkatu – Kilpisenkatu – Hannikaisenkatu – Gummeruksenkatu)

Jyväskylä Police headquarters, Administrative building and City theatre are all that was carried out of Aalto´s original scheme for the town centre. The second phase of the administrative building, a striking, high-rise ”council tower”, was never built. Police headquarters was the first building to be finished.
Can you find? There´s a signature of Alvar Aalto on the wall of the building. Can you find it?

 

Defence Corps Building 1926-29
(Kilpisenkatu 8)

Aalto secured the commission for the Jyväskylä Defence Corps Building by an archi-tectural competition. The building shows Aalto´s stylistic transition from classicism to functionalism, the former still visible in the decoration detailing, the latter in the layout, elevations and floor plan. Today the building has been almost fully remodelled.
* Vapaudenkatu 53, Nikolainkulma
Alvar Aalto´s first architecture office existed in the basement of the contemporary city hotel. Even though the office was really simple, on the fence just outside the office stood with huge letters: ”THE ALVAR AALTO OFFICE FOR ARCHITECTURE AND MONUMENTAL ARTS”

 

Workers´Club 1924-25
(Väinönkatu 7)

The Jyväskylä Workers´Association theatre and assembly building was Aalto´s first major public building. The Workers´Club is the key work of Aalto´s classical period, and it represents typical classicism of the 1920´s with its renaissance influences.
Did you know? The building is called as Aalto´s version of the famous Doge´s Palace in Venice. The colour scale of the building and interiors follows the colours found in Pompeii excavations. If you can´t go in, you can find the colours near the entrance – just look up!

 

Renovation of Nuora House 1923-24
(Hongikontie 9)

Nuora House was originally one-and-a-half storeys high. Aalto converted it into a two-storey residential and commercial building with projecting stairways and balconies. The wide eaves and window frames give the building a distinctly classical appearance.

 

Viitatorni 1957-62
(Viitaniementie 16)

Viitatorni is thirteen stories high, housing some 70 flats. This high-rise block of flats is a unifying landmark in the low-rise garden suburb of Viitaniemi. Because of its ap-pearance this 39 meters high building was the highest building in Jyväskylä until the year 2002, when the Innova Tower was completed.
Did you know? Viitatorni is also called as ”Aalto´s Tusk” because of its figure.

 

Aira House 1924-26
(Tapionkatu 2)

This three-storey brick building – commissioned as housing for railway workers – was Aalto´s first attempt at a block of flats. With its symmetry it represents Aalto´s classical period in the 1920´s.
Can you find? There are lots of small beatiful details in this building. Look very care-fully!

 

Jyväskylä University Campus 1951-71
(Seminaarinkatu 15)

In 1951 Aalto won an invited competition for the extension of the Institute of Pedagogics. From then until the 1970’s the campus was progressively extended in line with Aalto’s proposal. The eye-catching rar elevations and surrounding pinewoods form an enclosure around a classically inspired ceremonial court.
Can you find? When Aalto joined the competition, he used a latin pseudonym ”Urbs” meaning the city. Aalto has also placed the buildings in the nature like it was a small city!

 

Villa Karpio 1923
(Lehtisenkuja 1)

Commissioned by the Karpio family, the renovation of this Villa was among the first assignments secured in Jyväskylä by Aalto’s architectural office. Aalto’s original pro-posal was carried out in considerably reduced scale. The villa retains its original ap-pearance.

 

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