Ahlström Noormarkku Works

Ahlström Works is a unique historical industrial area in Noormarkku, Pori, and it is one of the most significant and best-preserved ironworks in Finland.

The story of A. Ahlström Corporation is a notable part of Finnish industrial, architectural, art, and design history. The area offers cultural tours at the Makkarakoski sawmill museum, the Ahlström Voyage exhibition, and the world-renowned Villa Mairea. In the Ahlström Voyage exhibition, visitors can explore art glass from the Iittala, Karhula, and Riihimäki glass factories that were part of the corporation, as the exhibition showcases a remarkable collection of works by Tapio Wirkkala and Timo Sarpaneva, as well as several unique pieces of the Savoy vase designed by Alvar Aalto. Additionally, there is an impressive scale model of the ironworks area on display. Architects Alvar Aalto and his wife, architect Aino Aalto, had a long and fruitful collaboration with Ahlström, resulting in masterpieces of Finnish architecture and design, which can be explored on the cultural tour “In the Footsteps of Alvar and Aino Aalto.”

Noormarkku Club House is a high-class Rôtisseurs restaurant. Accommodation is available in cozy guesthouses. The spirit of the guesthouse Vainiola, which underwent a renovation designed by architect Alvar Aalto in the 1940s, has been preserved to this day. The air-conditioned rooms in the guesthouse are furnished with Artek furniture, including several unique pieces.

Alvar Aalto Kymenlaakso Cycling Route

Kymenlaakso is the single region in Finland with the most buildings designed by Alvar Aalto. If Jyväskylä is called the Aalto capital, Kymenlaakso can rightly be called the Aalto region. In total, Kymenlaakso has dozens of buildings designed by Alvar Aalto: detached houses, apartment buildings and blocks of flats, as well as industrial plants.

On the cycle route you can discover Alvar Aalto’s architecture of the 1930s-1950s in Karhula, Sunila, Hamina and Inkeroinen.

Most of the buildings designed by Alvar Aalto were placed freely in the landscape, taking into account the shapes of the terrain. As a result, the connection to nature is a natural continuum for the views of the houses and apartments. Nature, light and their connection to the dwellings were important to Aalto. The overall architectural approach and the typical elements of Aalto’s formal language are repeated in all the Aalto projects in Kymenlaakso.

Aalto succeeded in adapting his buildings to nature and adding both creativity and artistry to their austere simplicity, and even today people are still attracted to Aalto buildings.

A tourist interested in architecture, history and design can easily spend several days exploring the buildings designed by Alvar Aalto, but also stay overnight in apartments designed and decorated in his style.

There are 4 areas on this route with buildings designed by Aalto:

Inkeroinen factory area

The buildings designed by Alvar Aalto for the Inkeroinen Factory Hill were completed between 1937 and 1956. The complex consists of factory buildings, semi-detached houses on the Rantalinja, terraced houses on the Tervalinja, three detached houses, three blocks of flats, a school on the Tehtaanmäki and detached houses on the Karhunkangas.

Hamina Petkele residential area

In Hamina, you can discover the environment of the Summa paper mill designed by Alvar Aalto and the housing designed by him for the paper mill workers and management in the Petkele residential area.

Apartment buildings in Karhula

Alvar Aalto’s design in Karhula is represented by the apartment buildings completed on Karhunkatu between 1945 and 1947, known as the ‘tennis houses’.

Sunila factory and working-class housing area

Alvar Aalto’s handiwork is immediately recognisable from the moment you arrive in the extensive and coherent residential area. The factory, completed in 1938, and the adjacent residential area, originally built between 1937 and 1939, form a whole whose design clearly shows the influence of Alvar Aalto’s 1930s modernism.

For more details and directions see the route in Outdoor Active

By Visit Kotka-Hamina

Kinkamon Aalto in Varkaus

Kinkamo is the first building that Alvar Aalto designed in Varkaus. Kinkamo was designed to be a weekend cabin in Kopolanniemi for the workers of the A. Ahlström factory. Kinkamo is a good example of Aalto’s efforts to adapt the building to its natural surroundings: it is located on a lake shore at the edge of the forest and it is not visible from the opposite shore, or from passing boats. The Warkaus Factory club-association approved the construction of Kinkamo during a general meeting held on May 12th, in 1937. The name Kinkamo was the result of a name competition organized in 1939.

Kinkamo is a joint project of Alvar and Aino Aalto: Alvar Aalto was commissioned a plan for the building in 1937, while the interiors were designed by Aino Aalto. The long building has a spacious veranda with a roof supported by sloping columns, a large open living area with a fireplace, and a separate sleeping wing. It also has a kitchen, drying room and a room for the housekeeper. The building’s horizontal line is emphasized by the horizontal timber cladding and narrow horizontal windows in the sleeping wing.

While designing Kinkamo, the architect couple played with historical motifs in an unusual manner. The originally open sleeping alcoves, furnished with built-in bunk beds, recalled a traditional Finnish rural style. The large dining table and separate chairs inside the dining hall, as well as the light fixtures, combine functionalism with medieval impressions in a unique way. The perforated decoration on the curved backrest of the dining chairs is also a practicality: it makes it easier to grab and move the chair. The medieval reference of the furniture conceived for Kinkamo is most clearly evident in one specific chair model: a high-backrest throne chair with four-leaved clover shapes pierced at the top of the backrest and a crown in the middle. Above the dining table is a straight five-lamp chandelier that repeats the motifs of the dining chairs.

Kinkamo is also equipped with a sauna: until 1976 in a structure re-adapted from a modular house designed by architect Kristian Gullichsen, which was then replaced with a sauna designed by architect Seppo Mykrä. The Warkaus Factory Club sold Kinkamo to A. Ahlström Oy in 1953, with the selling price being paid to the Varkaus branch of the General Mannerheim League for child welfare. In 1994, Kinkamo was transferred to Enso Gutzeit Oy, to be used for representation purposes. In the spring of 2019, Kinkamo was bought by Jukka Leväinen, a civil engineering entrepreneur from Varkaus, who then founded the company Kinkamon Aalto, which provides event and conference services.

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.

Riverside sauna at the Kauttua Works

Aino and Alvar Aalto designed the riverside sauna and laundry building for the employees of A. Ahlström company in the Kauttua Works area in Eura. The building is situated by the rapids in the beautiful surroundings of the bank of the flowing Eurajoki river. It was completed in 1946, with a log and brick structure resting on a concrete foundation. Originally the building had a turf roof. Nowadays Aalto’s riverside sauna is operated by a private entrepreneur, offering meeting and catering services, and of course the original Finnish Sauna experience.

Riverside sauna offers its guests a unique and inspiring space for coffee and lunch moments at their Café Nemo. The sauna facilities in the riverside sauna are warmed up for the guests upon request. In addition, pampering herbal and spa treatments are also available. Riverside sauna guests are welcome to swim in the nearby river or by request take a bath in the outdoor hot tub. The building has two changing rooms, a spacious terrace overlooking the river Eurajoki, and a lounge room decorated with Alvar Aalto furniture. Overnight stay at the sauna building is also available on request.

At the Riverside sauna you also find a design shop called Designpesula in the ground floor, in the former laundry room of the building. The shop is provided with unique Artek and Aalto second hand items as well as new Finnish and Scandinavian design items, available for purchase. Small gallery space features varying exhibitions.

Wood, Water & Workshop in Kouvola

Experience the industrial Tehtaanmäki and create your own mindscape. The tour takes you to the Ankkapurha Cultural Park, besides the foams of the River Kymijoki and the Tehtaanmäki residential area. At the Art Centre Antares in the countryside sceneries of Sippola the tour culminates into a workshop and exhibition. On this tour, you can be inspired by the layers of history and create something new of your experiences.

The tour takes you to the industrial community at Tehtaanmäki and presents you the residential area designed by Alvar Aalto. The region is filled with history of the woodworking industry from the 1870s onwards. Tehtaanmäki contains the traditional and the modern – Aalto was hired in the 1930s to design the Anjala Paper Mill and homes for the mill workers. A new type of working-class world was created: verdant and communal area built near the river, providing a setting for housing, school, interests and work.

You will be guided through the residential area, where the houses are still used for their original purpose. The Anjala Paper Mill Aalto designed is also in operation. After the tour we take a boat trip along the River Kymijoki and have a cup of coffee served beside campfire. Accommodation takes place on the grounds of an old manor. In the evening you can relax in sauna by the river.

On the second day, it is your turn! You will be taken to an art workshop at the local Art Center Antares nearby. Interpretate all what you have seen and experienced, in your way and personal style.

Paimio Sanatorium

Nestled in a lush pine forest outside the small Finnish town of Paimio, the Paimio Sanatorium by Alvar and Aino Aalto stands serenely as in a world of its own, a cathedral dedicated to healing. This modernist masterpiece from 1933, is considered as one of the most revolutionary buildings of its time.

The building was of key importance to the international career of architects Alvar and Aino Aalto. Together with Vyborg (Viipuri) Library, completed two years later, it gave the Aaltos an international profile. Finnish architecture was no longer merely the receiver of influences from outside.

The building, constructed on the basis of their win in an architectural competition resolved in 1929, was groundbreaking. A tuberculosis sanatorium was particularly suitable for a building which followed the tenets of the new Functionalism, where bold concrete structures and state-of-the-art building services were inseparable elements of architecture and practicality.

Aalto designed the interior colour scheme, including the yellow floors in the main staircase, the colourful walls in the corridors, the dark ceilings in the patients’ rooms and the orange balcony rails, in conjunction with the decorative artist Eino Kauria.

The entire building complex, grouped together in several parts according to use, was constructed in accordance with Aalto’s philosophy, right down to the smallest details of the furniture. As far as the loose furniture was concerned, a good many items designed specifically for the sanatorium were used, as well as standard products which were already available. According to the idea of standardisation, which belonged to the spirit of the times, these items were also planned for use elsewhere – for example, many of the light fittings ended up in the catalogue of the Taito metalworks.

The pieces of furniture became key products for Artek, which was founded in 1935. The bent plywood Paimio chair in particular has become an international design icon. On the other hand, the three-legged stool, which is the same age as the sanatorium, was not included in the first phase of the furniture supplied by the Otto Korhonen furniture works. The furniture in the patients’ rooms was dominated by tubular-steel construction, soon to be spurned by the Aaltos.

Paimio Sanatorium is considered as one of the modernist masterpieces, key site of architecture, furniture design and innovation in Finland. The Sanatorium represents humane architecture of well-being, a philosophy that continues to this day.

The site is open to public on guided tours and through various cultural activities throughout the year, highlight being the annual Spirit of Paimio – design & architecture conference. Some of the original patient rooms have been renovated into Retreat rooms, which enable visitors to stay overnight in the famous main building. This offers unique opportunity to truly experience the architectural details, and play of light, throughout the day. There is a restaurant on site that is open to public within the general opening hours of the sanatorium. Various areas in the building are also available to rent out for private functions.