Paimio Sanatorium

Paimio Sanatorium, Alvar and Aino Aalto’s international breakthrough design, is one of the most renowned buildings in Finland. Completed in 1933, it is a masterpiece of humane modernism and a true gesamtkunstwerk. Designed as a tuberculosis sanatorium and having served as a general hospital, Paimio Sanatorium has now entered a new era of the philosophy of well-being.

Enclosed by a vast forest of tall pine trees, the iconic site invites you to unwind in its tranquil ambiance. Explore the corridors, sense the luminous light and colors of the Sanatorium as you take a guided tour, discovering the stories of the past. A hike through nature trails or outdoor meditation, Paimio Sanatorium offers the perfect retreat to rejuvenate senses. Lenghten the stay by accommodating on-site, enjoy the local cuisine and various spaces of the Sanatorium.

Säynätsalo Town Hall – live-in architectural heritage

Explore this architectural gem where Aalto’s vision of form and function is realised in each minute detail.

This tour offers more than a simple walkthrough—it invites you to stay and soak in the community spirit that the building embodies. As you explore this space, you have the unique opportunity to extend your
visit with an overnight stay, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the unflustered landscape that inspired Aalto’s design and experience the communal essence of the thinking behind his designs.

Tour in brief: Join us at the Säynätsalo Town Hall, a cherished historical gem reflecting Alvar Aalto’s brilliance. Uncover the stories and facts of Alvar and Elissa Aalto during our guided tour, which is
suitable for all ages and backgrounds.

Why not extend the experience with an overnight stay? That way, you can create an even deeper connection with this iconic masterpiece and live like a local in our warm, inviting atmosphere.

Finland – Designed by Aalto

Embark on a country-spanning odyssey to discover the heart and soul of Alvar Aalto’s architectural legacy. Begin in Turku, where Aalto’s modernistic early works stand as monuments to his evolving style. Find yourself in Helsinki, where the iconic Finlandia Hall and the Academic Bookstore exemplify his philosophy of form following function. In Jyväskylä, the Aalto2 Museum awaits, a space where Aalto’s genius blurs the lines between practicality and artistry.

Journey to Säynätsalo to admire the Town Hall, a beacon of community and design, and explore the Muuratsalo Experimental House, a canvas of Aalto’s daring creativity. Venture to Kauttua Ironworks in Southwest Finland, a magnificent home to six Aalto structures, including the Terraced house and riverside sauna. Finish up at Villa Mairea, a residential marvel that harmonises with the natural world. This tour is a true tribute to Aalto’s vision, a chance to see the built environment through his transformative lens.

This five-day tour commences in Turku with Aalto’s first modernist works and progresses throug Helsinki’s iconic landmarks, such as the Finlandia Hall and the Academic Bookstore. The tour then ventures to the historically rich Kauttua Ironworks, followed by visits to Säynätsalo Town Hall and the Muuratsalo Experimental House. The excursion concludes with a tranquil stay at Villa Mairea, a serene
architectural haven.

Finland’s Modernist Tapestry Tour

Embark on a journey that weaves through Alvar Aalto’s architectural imagination, stretching across Finland to the cultural heart of Rovaniemi and the historic charm of Turku.

This tour unveils a world where concrete, glass, and nature blend into a seamless, beautiful continuum. Marvel at the bold modernism of Helsinki’s Finlandia Hall, and experience the tranquillity of Säynätsalo Town Hall, a gem nestled in Lakeland. In Rovaniemi, bear witness to the administrative and cultural prowess of the Aalto Centre, including Rovaniemi City Hall, the City Library, and Lappia House. Further south, explore Turku to discover Alvar and Aino Aalto’s early modern buildings, pioneering a new architectural era.

As you drift from the urban vibrancy of the capital to serene lakesides and historic cityscapes, let Aalto’s vision inspire a new understanding of harmony between built environments and nature.

Tour in brief: A nine-day journey encompassing the architectural marvels of Alvar Aalto in Finland’s key cities. This package offers a comprehensive experience including accommodations, select meals,
entrance fees to notable attractions, and insightful guided tours. Free time is allocated for personal exploration and shopping, promising a full immersion into Aalto’s world.

Jyväskylä – Aalto’s Lakeland impressions

This experience is an intimate exploration of Aalto’s structural poetry: the University of Jyväskylä Campus, a testament to his genius. The serene Säynätsalo Town Hall. Then add the architectural allure of the Jyväskylä City Theatre, a stage for cultural narratives, and the spiritual resonance of Muurame Church.

Each visit isn’t to a site but to a story—a narrative shaped by Aalto’s dedication to innovation and elegance. Dive into the depths of architectural marvels and discover spaces that redefine the essence of form and function.

Discover Aalto’s diverse architectural phases in a three-day tour of the Jyväskylä region. From the early classicism to functionalism and from renowned Säynätsalo Town Hall’s architecture in brick to the Jyväskylä City Theatre’s monumentalism, this tour blends Aalto’s heritage with the Petäjävesi Old
Church’s heritage and the natural beauty of Lakeland, complemented by local hospitality.

Alajärvi Town Hall

Among the Aalto sites in Alajärvi, the town hall is the largest and most prominent. The building’s facade is dominated by the large windows of the council chamber and the minimalist white walls. Construction of the Alajärvi town hall began in 1966 and it was completed a year later. The most impressive parts of the terrain-adaptive office building are the lobby and the council chamber. The council chamber is taller than the rest of the building and is adorned with windows of various sizes and shapes that let in the rays of the morning and evening sun.

Alvar Aalto approached his buildings as total works of art, where furniture and lighting were also important elements of the design. In the council chamber of the Alajärvi town hall, there are furnishings, tables, chairs, and lamps designed by Aalto, as well as seating in the foyer.

Seaside museums – Architecture, art and home museums by the sea!

A self-guided museum tour around the Laajalahti bay, outside the usual tourist routes, reveals seven unique museum sites that can be experienced together or separately. In addition to the scenic surroundings, the sites are united under interesting architecture and the fact that they have originally been homes and / or workspaces. The Didrichsen Art Museum, Villa Gyllenberg and Gallen-Kallela museums also feature significant art collections and changing exhibitions.

In Alvar Aalto’s home and office building in Munkkiniemi you can take part in guided tours all year round. Aficionados of architecture and design will get an insight into the interesting life of the Aalto family and everyday life of architects’ office. During the visit, you can also explore the beautiful gardens surrounding the buildings.

On a guided tour in Tamminiemi you will learn about the house’s most famous and longest-lived inhabitant: president Urho Kekkonen (1900–1986), and discover the original interiors and design from the 1970s. Tamminiemi’s legendary tar-smelling, seaside sauna can also be visited during the summer season.

The nearby Seurasaari open-air museum comes alive in the summer. The beautiful and fascinating traditional Finnish buildings, immersed into the magnificent natural setting of the island, constitute a favourite destination for both Helsinki locals and travellers around.

There are as many as two high-quality art museums on the small Kuusisaari island. The Didrichsen Art Museum has 2-3 changing exhibitions each year. The neighbouring Villa Gyllenberg features museum’s permanent collection which includes, amongst other masterpieces, 38 works by Helene Schjerfbeck. In addition, the museum also organises changing exhibitions. On Saturdays during the summer, Kuusisaari can be reached also by water bus running between Market Square in the city centre and Kuusisaari.

The northern shore of Laajalahti bay also offers exciting museum experiences, as well as a pleasant museum café where visitors can spend a relaxing moment. The Gallen-Kallela Museum, located in a castle-like villa designed by artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela, presents the art and life of Gallen-Kallela and his contemporaries with changing exhibitions, as well as exhibitions of contemporary art. From April you can also cycle to the museum on a city bike.

Guided walking tour of the Aalto Centre in Seinäjoki

As an architectural whole, the Administrative and Cultural Centre in Seinäjoki is unique on a global scale.

The Seinäjoki Aalto Centre was designed by world famous architect Alvar Aalto. As an architectural whole, the Administrative and Cultural Centre in Seinäjoki is unique on a global scale. The six buildings are gathered right in the middle of Seinäjoki city centre, within walking distance from Seinäjoki railway station.

A guided walking tour led by a local guide from Seinäjoki will include the The Cross Of The Plains Church, Seinäjoki City Hall, Seinäjoki City Theatre, Aalto Library and the world’s largest collection of Aalto glassware. You will also see the architecturally spectacular Apila Library, designed by JKMM Architects.

Seinäjoki Defence Corps building

The Defence Corps building was commissioned by the Southern Ostrobothnia Defence Corps, which used the three-storey building with mixed functions as its headquarters. The main building was originally used as offices for the Civil Guard of South Ostrobothnia and the Lotta Svärd Association. The top tier of the building was in residential use. 

The semi-subterranean ground floor, which contains a circular assembly hall, foyer and cloakroom, is built of stone; the office level and the residential storey (at the top with its own access stairs) are of wood. Together with the main building, a separate outbuilding was designed and erected on the other side of the courtyard. The ground floor of this two-storey building of rendered brick contains a garage, guardhouse, arms depot, sauna, and laundry; there are four small apartments in the upper storey. An unusual stair arrangement on both sides of the arched entrance provides separate access to most of the various facilities. One of the short sides of the courtyard is enclosed by a low wooden storehouse, designed some years later. The courtyard itself was intended as a drill and parade ground.

After the Second World War the building was re purposed for other uses. Since then many tenants have been operating in the building, including The Federation of Finnish youth association, a school and a travel agency. Nowadays the building is managed by the Provincial Museum of Southern Ostrobothnia. Currently it houses the Civil Guard and Lotta Svärd Museum. The main building holds museum exhibition and meeting spaces, an info booth and museum shop. The outbuilding has more exhibition spaces and a administration space for the museum.

The Defence Corps building has been preserved in its original condition and it’s buildings and their yard have also been protected under the law regarding building protection since 2002. 

The building represents refined neoclassicism and functionalist features as well as Ostrobothnian construction heritage. The building’s unusual stair hall, facade pilasters, and assembly hall painted in Pompeiian style make it one of the chief works of Alvar Aalto’s Neo-Classical period. Some part of the decorations in the buildings, including furniture, lamps and ornament details were also designed by Aalto. 

Aalto originally designed a loggia-like staircase for the end entrance, but it was not built.

The Suojeluskuntalainen statue, work by artist Pentti Papinaho is located in the yard of The Defence Corps building.

Muurame church

Alvar Aalto designed several church plans in 1920’s and Muurame church is the only one that was realised. Muurame church is considered to be a interphase in Aalto’s career. After Muurame church, Aalto gradually moved on from classism to functionalism.

The village of Muurame lies a few miles south of Jyväskylä, the town where Aalto opened his first architectural practice in 1923. It was only natural for the parish council to commission its new church from the closest qualified architect. Alvar Aalto had made his first trip to Italy in 1924, and his travel impressions are much in evidence in the church of Muurame.

Muurame church represents Nordic Classicism. Muurame church is located on a ridge and it is an important part of the cultural heritage in the area. The church is a single-aisle basilica with a tall campanile on one side of the rounded chancel. The interior has a barrel vault over a system of joists, the parish hall opens as a side chapel to the right of the chancel. A staircase leads down from this room to an exit with a loggia, which in Aalto´s original plan is surrounded by a rose garden.

Aino and Alvar Aalto designed the furnishings for the church together. The furnishings, designed fairly late in the project, took on elements of Aalto´s conversion to Modernism, and Aalto used Poul Henningsen lamps for interior lighting.

The interior of the Muurame church has undergone several changes over the years. Last time the interiors and exteriors of the Muurame church were renovated in 2016. The aim of the renovation was to restore the church to its original appearance. During the renovation, also Poul Hennigsen’s light fixtures were returned to the church. The latest renovation is considered to be successful.

William Lönnberg was commissioned to paint the altarpiece in 1929.

Church of the Three Crosses (Vuoksenniska Church)

The Church of the Three Crosses in Vuoksenniska is one of Imatra’s parish churches. After the Second World War, Alvar Aalto was commissioned to create a master plan for Imatra, which merged three of the rural municipality’s widely separated old villages: Imatrankoski, Vuoksenniska and Tainionkoski. The industrial community also required church amenities, and thus Aalto was commissioned in 1955 to design a new church. Aalto designed the church for the Vuoksenniska industrial community so as to combine sacral and social activities. The church was completed in 1958 on the high, pine-forested ridge that divides Lake Saimaa from Lake Immala.

Alvar Aalto, together with his office collaborators, designed the church interior, complete with its lamps, church collection baskets and candle holders, in the spirit of a total work of art, or “Gesamtkunstwerk”. The basic design of the sculptural white church consists of a series of consecutive sections. The main church space can be subdivided into three spaces using movable partition walls; the most sacred of which is the altar end and its pews, and the organ and choir balcony. Opposite this, at the southern end of the building, one could play volleyball or badminton without disturbing the other activities, the architectural complex or the sacral nature of the church. For the everyday parish activities, a kitchen and meeting room were built in the basement.

The church complex also comprises a 34-metre high sculptural concrete campanile, as well as a vicarage that encloses the southern courtyard.

Aalto worked on the design of sacral buildings throughout his career, but several of his church designs never went beyond competition proposals. Of his realised churches, the Church of the Three Crosses completed in 1958 in Vuoksenniska is unique. The small sculptural parish church, rising up amidst pine heath, embodies the free and imaginative aspect of Aalto’s architecture. The church can be said to be Aalto’s response to the development of modern church architecture in central Europe.

The complex exterior architecture of Vuoksenniska Church conceals the tracks of the heavy sliding walls that affect the design of the building at all levels. According to Aalto:

“The author has simultaneously sought two solutions to the problems, one of which lies almost exclusively within the psychological realm (the acoustic tone of the sermon) and the other purely within the technical realm (the effective separation of the church spaces from each other).” (Arkkitehti 12/1959)

When presenting his design for the Vuoksenniska Church in the journal Arkkitehti, Aalto criticized contemporary church design:

“The ecclesiastical activities of the industrial community must, of course, be resolved with an emphasis on the church’s social activities. Though in the world there exist several different combinations of such church activities, it is unfortunate, however, that many institutions of a social nature have often removed from church buildings their character as a public building. Very often these are kinds of intermediate forms between settlement-movement hostels, youth and parish clubs, parish halls and the actual modest church space connected to these.” (Arkkitehti, 12/1959)