Youth Association Building in Alajärvi

The Alajärvi Youth Association building from 1920 is one of the buildings designed by Alvar Aalto during his studies. It is also his first public building design. Construction work was carried out quickly, and the building is still in use nowadays. The current Youth Association building, that was formerly the Defence Corps building, was completed in 1920, and it was inaugurated on November 28. Until 1946, the building housed the local Defence Corps and Lotta Svärd departments. In 1946, the building was bought by the Youth Association club, that still owns it.

The log building is in Neoclassical style. The outer walls are covered in vertical wooden boards, and the open high roof gives the building a castle-like feel. Cross beams support the ceiling of the main hall; the elevation is so high that there is enough space for a theatre stage and an orchestra balcony. The building is topped by a Carolean lantern on the roof, which is reminiscent of the bell tower of a church. The two side wings originally embraced a small courtyard of honour, that has since been replaced by a built-in vestibule.

The Youth Association building is located along Sairaalatie street, close to the centre of Alajärvi. However, the building has been largely rebuilt due to a fire damaging it in 1983. The Youth Association building was restored to its original form during the renovation work, and the inauguration of the new house was held in 1985. The Alajärvi Youth Association Club maintains and renovates the building within the limitations of the received funding and grants.

The Alajärvi Youth Association Club also offers the possibility of renting the building. The premises of the Youth Association building provide a great setting for organising parties and other events such as weddings and birthdays, meetings and concerts. The premises are well suited for gatherings of about 30-100 people.

Experience Alvar Aalto’s architecture in Jyväskylä

During the tour you will experience some of the most iconic built environments designed by Alvar Aalto in a city that has more than earned its epithet, the Alvar Aalto capital of the world.

This tour in Jyväskylä takes you on a journey to a city featuring more works and designs from the different periods of the master architect’s career than any other location in the world. On this tour you will not only be seeing but also living the gems of Modernist architecture: sleep, eat and even swim within architecture.

During the tour you will experience some of the most iconic built environments designed by Alvar Aalto in a city that is called the capital city of Alvar Aalto’s architecture, as there’s the most Alvar Aalto building in the world. He opened his first office and started his family in Jyväskylä, he lived in the city for several years and built his beloved summer residence nearby. The city is also home to the world’s only Alvar Aalto Museum, which is located in a building designed by the architect himself.

During the tour, you will witness the different faces of Aalto’s oeuvre, from the early classicist style through the red-brick period to white monumentalism. Highlights of the tour include a stay in one of Aalto’s most significant works, Säynätsalo Town Hall, swimming in AaltoAlvari swimming hall, the oldest parts of which were designed by Aalto.

Jyväskylä Workers’ Club

Jyväskylä Workers’ club building was the first notable public building that Alvar Aalto got to design after his graduation with Aino Aalto. Aalto was given the design commission for the new building in the city centre by the Jyväskylä Workers’ Association in 1924. The plans for the building were made in 1924 and it erected the following year. Aino and Alvar Aalto also designed the furniture, light fixtures, and fittings specially for this building. 

This building also marked Aalto’s breakthrough and it is one of the principal works of Alvar Aalto’s Classical period. Workers’ club is also one of the most historically important building of its time. It was protected by law in the city plan already at the beginning of the 1970’s. The provincial government of Central Finland protected the building in 1978 and finally the Finnish Government protected the building in 1986.

The lower level of the building is basically a glazed colonnade containing a restaurant, two café rooms, and the entrance hall to the theatre. A monumental staircase leads up to the upper floor. The largely windowless upper floor contained an auditorium used for political assemblies and as a theatre with stage, parterre, balconies, and foyer. These facilities were used by the workers’ theatre and later by the city theatre until the new city theatre completed in 1982. Nowadays the building is used as a venue place for meetings and special occasions. 

The foundation of the Jyväskylä Workers’ club were laid on 22nd of September in 1924. Into the stone foundation they hid old issues of their Työnvoima -magazine and the workers club 35-Year History, pictures and money.

When the Workers’ club completed it had a distinctively different character in the street scene of Jyväskylä. The building represents typical 1920s Nordic Classicism and it has features from Renaissance architecture. Such as the Palladian windows, the medallions details and the balustrades which dominate the facade. Also the restaurant space inside the building has a round atrium shape. The earliest sketches also show a large, colonnaded forecourt but it was not built.

Workers’ club has been refurbished and some changes have been made over the years. For example the restaurant spaces have later been fully remodelled. More restoration and repair work were done in the 1980’s and some parts of the building were brought back closer to the historically accurate condition. The latest renovation was in 2008 when the theatre space Aalto-sali was renovated.

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.

Alvar Aalto in Alajärvi – life and work

Alvar Aalto spent many summers in Alajärvi in his childhood and later had a summer house of his own. For Aalto, Alajärvi represented leisure time with family and relatives in contrast to the hectic work at the office. Aalto called this small rural town his spiritual home.

In the scenic Alajärvi one can see buildings from the long span of Aalto’s career, from the earliest assignments to the last of his office. At the Alajärvi Aalto Centre there are 11 locations, including the recently renovated Villa Väinölä, a home Aalto designed for his brother.

The countryside was his retreat during the busy creative years with the assignments and architectural competitions. Alajärvi is located near to Aalto’s childhood home Kuortane, so the region played an important role in his life.

Guided tours in Jyväskylä

”Central Finland is often reminiscent of Toscana, the home of cities built on hills, and that provides a small clue about how classically beautifully this province could be built”, wrote Alvar Aalto almost a hundred years ago.

A deep interest in both the historical Latin cultural heritage and the demands of modern society was an enduring feature of Alvar Aalto’s thinking and work. Aalto always had a trip to Italy in mind – the trip he had once made or the journey he was in the process of planning. For him Italy represented something characterised by a sympathetic design world of human dimensions.

Now it is possible to explore the Jyväskylä Region’s fabulous scenery, enjoy the essence of Central Finland, and discover both its cities on hills and Aalto’s human-scale architecture on a variety of guided tours inspired by Italy and the master architect himself.

Alvar and Gösta – two Masters

What significance does art, architecture and design have for Finland and its people? What is the relationship between art, architecture and design and the forest industry, the traditional lifeline of the Finnish economy? How close to nature is it possible for Finnish architecture and design to get?

The Alvar and Gösta tour offers, on a human scale, a unique insight into the Finnish way of living in close rela-tionship with nature. The tour offers unforgettable experiences for fans of culture and those who would like to learn more about the Finnish way of life in the midst of the most beautiful Central Finland landscapes, where lakes, rivers and forests are ever present.

Alvar Aalto in Alajärvi

The city of Alajärvi in the Southern Ostrobothnia is located close to Alvar Aalto’s childhood hometown Kuortane. Aalto spent his childhood summers in Alajärvi and later had his own summer house there up to 1940s. For him Alajärvi represented leisure time with family and relatives in contrast to the hectic work at the office with all the assignments and architecture competitions. Later Aalto reminisced the place and called it his spiritual home.

In the scenic Alajärvi one can see buildings from the long span of Aalto’s career, from the earliest assignments to the last of his office. At the Alajärvi Administrative and Cultural Centre there are 11 locations, including the recently renovated Villa Väinölä, a home Aalto designed for his brother.

By the lake in Alajärvi there is the Alajärvi Church (1836), designed by the famous architect C.L. Engel. Aalto used to have a seat in the church loft in his youth. In the beautiful churchyard you can see e.g. war
memorials designed by Alvar Aalto and the Aalto family grave.

The Administrative and Cultural Centre in Alajärvi consists of two municipal offices, the Parish Centre, Youth Association building, the former Municipal Hospital, a Health Station, Villa Väinölä and the City Library, which was finished by the architect studio of Aalto.

In addition there are the three memorials and the summer house Villa Flora, that Aalto designed for him and his wife Aino Aalto. Today Villa Flora is under private ownership.

The lobby of the Alajärvi town hall houses Muodon Vuoksi, an exhibition of the classic 1930s glass design of Alvar and Aino Aalto. Alajärvi was a town dear to Aalto and he put his heart and soul into the local projects. The countryside was his retreat during the busy creative years.

Nelimarkka museum

The Nelimarkka Museum in Alajärvi was founded by the painter and professor Eero Nelimarkka (1891-1977) in 1964. The building was designed by his friend, the architect Hilding Ekelund. Since 1995 it has functioned as the Regional Art Museum of Southern Ostrobothnia. It focuses on displaying regional Ostrobothnian art but art education also plays an important role.

Temporary exhibitions, workshops and events for visitors of all ages are organized regularly. Since the mid-1980s the museum has also provided an international residency program for artists.

In summertime you can enjoy coffee and cake in the light atmosphere of Café de Nelimarkka. The museum shop is open year-round. You can book a customized tour or workshop at the museum. Nelimarkka museum maintains the near-by Villa Nelimarkka and Villa Väinölä, located in the centre of Alajärvi. Nelimarkka Museum is open all year round.

Alvar Aalto in Jyväskylä

In Jyväskylä, the city of lakes and hills in the heart of the Finnish Lakeland, you’ll find the largest number of masterful buildings in the whole world designed by the world-famous architect and academician Alvar Aalto.

The impressive portfolio of 28 locations includes, for instance, the Alvar Aalto Museum, Muurame Church and Säynätsalo Town Hall, which is regarded as one of Aalto’s finest works.

Alvar Aalto also went to school, started a family and began his illustrious career in Jyväskylä. The city of Jyväskylä is home to Aalto creations from the very start of his career right through to designs from his final years.

In Jyväskylä you’ll tread in the master’s footsteps from classicism to functionalism and from brick architecture to monumentalism. Jyväskylä offers you a vast selection of guided tours and interesting visits either on foot, by bike or by boat!

Jyväskylä is also perfectly suited for conferences. The city is lively due to the University and it offers a selection of restaurants and venues for all kind of events. The Finnish Lakeland, being the Sauna Region of the World, guarantees various possibilities for groups of all sizes.

One point of interest is the swimming hall designed by Alvar Aalto. Back then it was one of the very first swimming halls in Finland. It was later enlarged and now the AaltoAlvari Aquatic Centre houses sport and spa services, with various pools like rapid and wave pools, a hot tub, a water slide and diving boards.

Located at a hub of excellent connections, Jyväskylä is highly accessible from practically anywhere.