National Pensions Institute, Main Building

National Pensions Institute (The Social Insurance Institution of Finland KELA) Head Office is close to the centre of Helsinki. The richly nuancedly monumental main building represents the best of Aalto’s office buildings. The building (1953-1956) is still in its original use.

Aino and Alvar Aalto won the design competition for the head office in 1948. New designs were made when the first plot was changed for another. The floor plan for the building on the new triangular plot was divided into smaller building units, which reduced the impression of a large building mass. A raised inner courtyard sheltered from the traffic in the street is left in the middle of the building. Its character as a public building has been emphasized by its exceptional siting in contrast to the neighbouring buildings. The building is split-level and is lower on the park side.

The complex comprises 310 rooms and 22,500 m2 of floor space. The facade materials are red brick, copper, and black granite. The building is distinguished throughout by workmanship and materials of high quality: all details are carefully studied and the interior design is exquisite, especially that of the management floor and the conference rooms. Aalto developed several new variants of his standard furniture for the Institute, a whole series of new light fittings, ceramic wall claddings, and a variety of textiles.

The general public has access only to the customer service hall, three stories high and lit by three prism-shaped lantern skylights. This room originally contained twenty-eight unroofed interview cubicles in which applicants could present their cases undisturbed to the staff. Of special interest is the tiny library, it is a miniature version of Aalto’s renowned early work, the Viipuri Library.

The intended site was a block marked off by Mannerheimintie, Töölönkatu and Kivelänkatu, though a neighbouring block facing Hesperiankatu was given as an alternative. The entire project was to be funded by the the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, which looked forward to obtaining a good, reliable return on its investment.

Aalto was commissioned to develop this extensive plan further, and he worked on it until 1952, when problems with the site led to the decision to build on another site altogether. The entire original plan for the National Pensions Institute was scrapped in 1952, when a much smaller, triangular site in Taka-Töölö (bordered by Nordenskiöldinkatu, Messeniuksenkatu, and Minna Canthinkatu) was selected.

In order to avoid the oppressive feeling of a large office building in a crowded urban setting, Aalto differentiated the workplaces for over 800 employees into a ramified organism spread out among several seemingly individual building volumes with excellent internal communications both above and below ground. The complex forms an irregular U surrounding a raised, planted courtyard sheltered from traffic noise and exhaust gases and with a view of an adjacent park; the height of the building volumes is stepped down towards the park.

National Pensions Institute, Housing Area

Seen in the cityscape the redbrick high-rise blocks form an integrated whole. Alvar Aalto designed these blocks of flats in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki, for the employees of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. The collaboration with the National Pensions Insitute and the Aalto’s had already begun a couple years before. Aino and Alvar Aalto won the architectural competition to design an office complex for the National Pensions Institute in Helsinki in 1949. Nowadays these buildings are operated by a normal housing cooperative.

In total there are 4 high-rise buildings and they are located on Riihitie 12-14 and Tallikuja 2-4. The layout of the buildings as well as their volume and details form a rich housing complex to the neighborhood. Three of the four buildings are rectangular but one located on the corner has a meandering lay out.  

The four and five storey buildings were sited beside the street, leaving plenty of room for the buildings’ yard area. The idea was that the buildings would shelter the yard area from the traffic in the street. Aalto planned a paved, open area – a piazza – adjoining the buildings, with a fountain. The fountain and small day-care centre building also planned to go beside the piazza were not built. The open area, raised slightly above street level, and the other yard and street areas form a nuanced whole. Originally a grocery store operated in the ground floor of one of the buildings. This public composition was accentuated with a arcade corridor on the street side elevation. Nowadays some of the ground floors of the buildings are occupied by various offices.

The quite light tone of the the red brick were designed especially for these block of flats in H.G. Paloheimo Oy. The housing area is view-able from the outside.

Aalto knew Munkkiniemi well. At the start of the 1930s, he designed a residential area for the M.G. Stenius company, but it was not built. He was also a member of the Munkkiniemi building committee in 1937–39. Both The Aalto House and Studio Aalto are also located in Munkkiniemi.

Book House

The Academic Bookstore, or ‘Book Palace’, is in Helsinki’s city centre, in the same block as the Aalto-designed office building, the Rautatalo. The building was finished in 1969 and it is still in its original use. The Academic Bookstore moved in to the building in October 1969.

The plot’s owner, Stockmann, held an architectural competition for the design of the building in 1961–62. Aalto won this with a proposal using the same ideas as in the nearby Rautatalo.

The design of the copper-clad façade on Keskuskatu takes into account the adjacent building’s façade. The building’s main interior space, the central hall, corresponds in its ideas to the marble interior courtyard of the Rautatalo. The central hall gets natural light from the prism-shaped skylights. The floor and closed balustrades of the balconies running round the central hall are of Carrara marble.

Alterations have been made to the interiors. Some of the rooms on the upper floors originally used for offices have been taken over for the bookshop. Nowadays, there are two cafes. The one in the second floor is partly furnished with original Aalto furniture from the Rautatalo cafe. Open for public as a bookstore and cafe.

Aalto House

In 1934, Aino and Alvar Aalto acquired a site in almost completely untouched surroundings at Riihitie in Helsinki’s Munkkiniemi. Aino and Alvar Aalto designed the building, whose simple, natural materials soften the form language of modern architecture. Designing their own home gave them an opportunity to make various structural and material experiments. The Aalto House was completed in August 1936. Aalto’s architect’s office was in this building in Munkkiniemi until 1955.

Alvar Aalto lived in the house on Riihitie up until his death on 1976, and the building was used by the family long afterwards.The house, protected by the Act on the Protection of Buildings, is now part of the Alvar Aalto Foundation. Nowadays, the building is a home museum open to the public.

The house was designed as both a family home and an office and these two functions can clearly be seen from the outside. The studio and the family’s living areas have been discreetly separated from each other through choices of material. This can be seen in both the façades and the interiors.The slender mass of the office wing is in white-painted, lightly rendered brickwork. There are still clear references to Functionalism in the location of the windows. The cladding material of the residential part is slender, dark-stained timber battens. The building has a flat roof and a large south-facing terrace. The way that the rooms in this building with its closed street façade face in different directions has been carefully considered.

Although the street side elevation of the house is severe and closed-off, it is softened by climbing plants and a slate path leading up to the front door. There are already signs of the ‘new’ Aalto in the Aalto House, of the Romantic Functionalist. The plentiful use of wood as a finishing material and four open hearts built in brick also point to this. The Aalto House is a cosy, intimate building for living and working, designed by two architects for themselves, using simple uncluttered materials.

Studio Aalto

Alvar Aalto designed the building at Tiilimäki 20 in Munkkiniemi as his own office in 1955. Because of a number of large commissions, the office needed more space to work in. The building is only a short walk from Aalto’s own house, where the office had previously been located. Studio Aalto is one of the best of Alvar Aalto’s 1950s buildings.

“You can’t create architecture in an office environment,” is how Aalto described working in an architect’s office. Aalto designed a free-form studio section for the building, and a drawing room using natural light. The building curves around a stepped, amphitheatre-style courtyard sheltered from the wind. On the upper floor there is a drawing office on a narrow plan, beautifully encircled by natural light from a band of high-level windows. In 1962-1963 the building was extended by building a dining room for the staff, the ‘Taverna’, in the courtyard behind the high brick wall, with an office above it.

Many of Aalto’s best-known works were designed here at the Studio. Alvar Aalto ran the office until his death in 1976. After that, the office continued under the leadership of Elissa Aalto until 1994. The building came into the custodianship of the Alvar Aalto Foundation in 1984 and today it houses the Alvar Aalto Foundation staff. You can visit the Studio Aalto in guided tours for groups. There are public guided tours of the Studio throughout the year.

The white-rendered, wall-like, closed-in mass of the building conceals a garden shaped like an amphitheatre in its inner courtyard. The office staff could sit on the slate steps of the amphitheatre, listen to lectures or watch slide shows projected on the white wall.

The principal space in the building is the curving studio which has a view opening onto the courtyard. Horizontal battens fixed to the high walls of the studio allowed drawings to be displayed there. The rear wall is covered with climbing plants reaching up to the high-level windows and prototypes of light fittings designed by Alvar Aalto are hung in front of the wall.

The slanting bay window of the conference room with its roof light creates the perfect conditions for examining models and drawings.

Artist community at Lake Tuusula and Villa Kokkonen in Järvenpää

The museums near the lake Tuusula display the history and the rich cultural heritage of Finland. A unique community of artists formed on the shores of Lake Tuusula in early 1900’s. Notable artists settled in the rural landscape and their works play an important role in the story of the Finnish identity. In artists’ studios of National Romantic style you can sense the historical atmosphere that generated the inspiring national spirit and the strive towards independence from Russia. Finland gained independence in 1917. Visitors can enjoy art and experience the past through artists, writers and composers of the Golden age of Finnish art. The artists’ studios takes you back in time to the National Romantic era and the other museums in the area exhibit the history of Finland in the 20th century.

Villa Kokkonen (1967—1969) is a real rarity among the private homes designed by Alvar Aalto, because Aalto designed the building as an artist’s home. The composer Joonas Kokkonen lived in Villa Kokkonen for 27 years. The architectural heart of the building is the unique combination of a grand piano and concert room.

Lake Tuusula is a perfect travel destination for it offers you plenty of interesting places to visit within easy reach. Lake Tuusula also offers great possibilities for outdoor activities in summer and in winter. A good bike route of 24 kilometres leads you around the lake in the beautiful landscape. There are lots of places for recreation close by, for example the Sarvikallio viewing point. It offers a spectacular view over the lake Tuusula, a view that inspired artists to portray this distinctively Finnish landscape in their work.

Lake Tuusula Road and the artist community

The road by the Lake Tuusula, Tuusulan Rantatie in Finnish, was part of a historical road connected to
Helsinki. It goes through the beautiful lakeside scenery all the way until the nearby city of Järvenpää. The
Lake Tuusula artist community had a major influence on the cultural history of Finland in the era of
National Romantic movement. Several artists of the golden age of Finnish art settled on the eastern bank of the lake in the late 19th and early 20th century.

The first ones to settle on the shores of Lake Tuusula were the author Juhani Aho and his artist wife Venny
Soldan-Brofeldt. In spring 1897 they rented a villa, which is now called Ahola and open as a museum. Their example inspired other artists to move there, to live and work in the peaceful surroundings close to nature.

The studio residence of painter Eero Järnefelt was built in 1901. Next year were finished the atelier of
painter Pekka Halonen, Halosenniemi, and the home of poet J.H. Erkko, Erkkola. The master composer Jean Sibelius moved with his family in 1904. Their villa is called Ainola after his wife, Aino Sibelius.

Today these five homes are open for visitors. They are located by the Lake Tuusula within a span of 5 kilometres. The Tuusulanjärvi artists’ community would have come to an end by the death of Jean Sibelius in 1957, but the community gained new momentum when Joonas Kokkonen cancelled his plans to move to Helsinki. Instead, he acquired a lakeside plot from the Town of Järvenpää at an affordable price and was able to hire the most famous architect in Finland to design his home. Villa Kokkonen is located nearby, on the other side of lake Tuusulanjärvi.

Alvar Aalto’s Villa Kokkonen

Villa Kokkonen (1967 – 1969) is a real rarity among the private homes designed by Alvar Aalto, because Aalto designed the building as an artist’s home. The composer Joonas Kokkonen lived in Villa Kokkonen for 27 years. The architectural heart of the building is the unique combination of a grand piano and concert room. The Tuusulanjärvi artists’ community would have come to an end by the death of Jean Sibelius in 1957, but the community gained new momentum when Joonas Kokkonen cancelled his plans to move to Helsinki. Instead, he acquired a lakeside plot from the Town of Järvenpää at an affordable price and was able to hire the most famous architect in Finland to design his home.

Villa Kokkonen is a single-storey and multifaceted wooden house that is immersed in natural light. The house itself is worth seeing.

In Villa Kokkonen you can experience the past and the present of the artist’s home. Villa Kokkonen was also one of the first Finnish houses to be selected in the network of Iconic Houses in 2012. The network includes some of the most famous house museums in the world.

Sunila Sulphate Pulp Mill and Residential Area

The Sunila pulp mill and the adjoining residential area designed by Alvar Aalto are masterpieces of modern architecture. The pulp mill was said to be the most beautiful in the world and it was presented at the World’s Fair of Paris in 1937 and of New York in 1939. The mill or the head office with the original interior designed by Aino Aalto unfortunately cannot be visited.

The Sunila project (1936–38, 1947, 1951–54) is the largest that was completed according to the original plans of Aalto. Sunila is located on the estuary of river Kymi, by the Gulf of Finland. The residential area is spacious and close to nature, the houses blend in the pine trees and green fields. In addition to the 12 terraced houses and apartment buildings there is the manager’s residence Kantola, a sauna by the sea and several maintenance buildings. The Sunila residential area is protected by law due to its architectural values.

Read more: Experience the Alvar Aalto cycling route in Kotka and Hamina

One of the largest industry investments of its time

Sunila is the most extensive project realised closely according to Aalto’s plans. The area is considered to be a culturally valuable built environment and the regulations in the detailed regional plan guarantees the architectural conservation.

The southeastern Finland industrialized rapidly when several sawmills were built on river Kymi from the 1870s onwards. In the economic boom of the mid-thirties five companies within the paper industry decided to start together a new sulphate cellulose mill in Sunila. There was also a need for housing for the employees of the new company.

One of the five companies cooperating in the pulp mill project was Ahlström, whose manager, Harry Gullichsen, was a friend of the architect Alvar Aalto. Gullichsen was also chairman of the board of the Sunila Company and thus influential in appointing Aalto for the project. At that time Aalto had already gained international fame. The Aalto-Gullichsen friendship evolved around a common interest in modern ideas about architecture, art, technology and social progress. Lauri Kanto, the technical manager at the nearby Halla pulp mill, was appointed leader of the planning team, with Aulis Kairamo as chief engineer. These four men worked in unison to build an industrial community with state-of-the-art technology, housing and social facilities. The building of the mill began in 1936, the residential area in 1937 and pulp production started in 1938.

Sunila, the first “Forest Town” in Finland was a model for planning the housing in the post-war Finland. Until the 1960s Sunila was as a traditional and hierarchical industrial community, yet a modern neighbourhood with welfare services. The company took care of its employees for instance by offering health insurance fund and enabling sport activities. The rowing team of the local sport club Sunilan Sisu won the bronze medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

The Sunila town plan is based on the free placement of buildings and the interaction between the built and the natural environment. The arrangement of buildings is fan-shaped, so that there is a landscape view from every apartment. The surrounding nature is lush and barren at the same time, characterized by pines.

Go east from Helsinki and visit the Kotka – Hamina region!

The Kotka – Hamina region is situated on the southeast coast of Finland, only 1 hour drive from Helsinki. The cities of Kotka and Hamina and the towns nearby are attractive seaside destinations with relaxed lifestyle and maritime culture. See the interesting exhibitions of the Maritime Centre Vellamo, explore the history outdoors in the Salpa defence line and the former military zone islands. Enjoy the river Kymi, the seaside nature and urban gardens, visit the beautiful churches and other sights. Experience authentic landscapes and historical milieus. We know all this sounds a bit too much to take, but hey, we recommend to stay a little longer with us!

Read more: Visit Kotka-Hamina

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 Helsinki

The maritime Helsinki is the biggest city in Finland and home for several buildings designed by Alvar Aalto. It also contains a wide range of other Finnish architecture from different centuries and decades.

Born in the small rural municipality of Kuortane, Alvar Aalto graduated as an architect in 1921 from the Technical University of Helsinki. In 1923, he established his first office in Jyväskylä, carrying the grandiose name “Arkkitehtuuri-ja monumentaalitaiteen toimisto” (Office of Architectural and Monumental Art). The office first moved to Turku and from there ultimately to Helsinki in the early 1930s.

Earlier in his career, Aalto had participated in several major architectural competitions in Helsinki, such as for the Parliament building and Olympic Stadium.

Designed in tandem with his wife Aino Aalto, also an architect, the family’s home was completed in Munkkiniemi in Helsinki in 1936. At that time, the Munkkiniemi area was not yet officially a part of Helsinki. The Aalto house now serving as a home museum was also designed to have a studio wing for use by the architectural office. Aalto knew the area well: as an example, in the early 1930s he designed a residential area (which never materialised) for the M.G. Stenius company in Munkkiniemi. The housing area designed for the employees of the National Pensions Institute were, in turn, completed in Munkkiniemi in 1954.

A new building was built in 1955 in Munkkiniemi near Aalto’s home to serve the needs of the expanding architectural office. Alvar Aalto’s studio is now the head office of the Alvar Aalto Foundation and a popular attraction among architectural travellers.

Several buildings designed by Alvar Aalto have been erected in the Helsinki region over the years. The head office of the National Pensions Institute and Enso-Gutzeit Co. Headquarters with their interiors were designed with great care down to the minutest detail for the needs of demanding clients. The centre of Helsinki houses buildings open to the public, such as the Rautatalo Office Building and the Academic Bookstore as well as Restaurant Savoy, which has kept its original interior from 1937 designed jointly by Aino and Alvar Aalto.

The House of Culture was completed near the centre of Helsinki in 1958. You can get to explore this building with a rich history and still used for versatile concerts and other cultural events during guided tours.

In 1959, the City Executive Board of Helsinki commissioned Alvar Aalto to draw up a plan for the central Kamppi-Töölönlahti area. Aalto outlined a new monumental centre for Helsinki, but ultimately only a small portion of the plans were brought to fruition – the Finlandia Hall is the only building of the row of cultural buildings planned along the Töölönlahti bay that was ever built.

The Finlandia Hall was designed as a conference and concert venue, and it is one of the last buildings designed by Aalto’s office. The Finlandia Hall was designed in 1967 to 1971 and 1973 to 1975. Alvar Aalto died in 1976, soon after the Finlandia Hall was ready. This building can be visited on guided tours and in conjunction with various events.

Tehtaanmäki residential district and school in Inkeroinen, Kouvola

The buildings in Tehtaanmäki district designed by Aalto date from 1937 to 1956. These buildings include industrial buildings, Rantalinja semi-detached houses, Tervalinja terraced houses, three single-family houses, three housing blocks, Tehtaanmäki Primary School and Karhunkangas single-family houses.

At the end of the 1930s, Tampella Co. established the Anjala Paper Mill in Inkeroinen and built the mill (1937 to 1938) and also houses for the workers, technical management and foremen. Alvar Aalto designed several industrial buildings, various residential houses and modifications and expansions to the existing buildings. The paper mill was modernised in the 1980s, and Stora Enso acquired Tampella’s mill in 1993.

Aalto drew up modification plans for the entrance of the head office of the mill, for the layout plan and for the adjacent house manager’s house. Many of the residential buildings in the industrial area were completed in 1938, and the Tehtaanmäki Primary School was built in 1938-39. The town plan designed by Aalto in 1937 covered the entire centre of Inkeroinen, but only the Karhunkangas area and the area adjacent to the mill were ever implemented.

In their own time, the buildings designed by Aalto were modern and up-to-date. Design had to fulfil its purpose rationally and in an economically viable manner. Aalto appreciated technology in the service of people, as an enabler of better housing conditions. For Alvar Aalto, architecture was not something that could be copied universally from one place to another, but instead, design took place on the terms of the terrain and landscape of the area. The buildings were embedded in the scenery, and the natural environment could stay close by.

The Inkeroinen project is associated with the construction of the Sunila Sulphate Pulp Mill and housing area, which Aalto had designed a little earlier, when Tampella, part of the industrial conglomerate, became convinced of the design capability of Aalto’s architectural office. Sunila was built on virgin ground, while Inkeroinen was adapted to the existing buildings both in terms of housing and industrial production.

In Inkeroinen, the social hierarchy was reflected in the house types and building style. The technical management were built single-family houses, with the Chief Engineering Manager’s house being the biggest. Foremen lived in semi-detached houses and workers in terraced houses and housing blocks. In the spirit of social responsibility and equality of modernism, the goal was to provide all with good living conditions. As an example, the Tervalinja and Rantalinja houses had a supply of hot water.

There were two public saunas in the Tehtaanmäki area, and a public sauna was also built in the Karhunkangas residential area of single-family houses. The goal was to give the apartments a view of the natural environment, and the gardens and outdoor decks were to serve as a continuation of the interior. People were also supposed to be able to live freely and independently.

The River Kymijoki has shaped the history of the entire Kymenlaakso region and given rise to a number of cultural environments related to agriculture, industry, houses and built-up areas. Sawmills and wood-processing plants were established beside hydropower sources and waterways.

Large-scale enterprises in the wood-processing industry promoted the growth of towns, readjusted the business structure and had an impact on the formation of social communities. The landscape characteristic of an industrial area comprised the mill with its smoke stack, and the villas of the mill management and the housing areas of the workers were erected around the mill itself.

The wood-processing industry in Anjala and Inkeroinen originated from Ankkapurha, or the large rapids. The old board mill now serves as the Ankkapurha Industrial Museum, which displays the first continuous board machine in Finland acquired for Inkeroinen in 1897.

The various historical strata of the paper and board mills in Inkeroinen are manifested in the different phases of construction. The oldest buildings in the area are the red-brick mill buildings and traditional wooden residential houses from the late 19th century. The board mill (1887) designed the a​rchitect A.M. Hedbäck is the oldest building, and its interior has been preserved close to original. There are two club buildings: one is a former school built in the mid-1890s and the other built in 1892 was originally in residential use. The Church of Inkeroinen designed by B. Federley was finished in 1910, and the hydroelectric plant designed by S. Frosterus and O. Gripenberg was built in 1921 to 1922.

Villa Mairea and Ahlström’s Noormarkku Works in Pori

Ahlström’s Noormarkku Works area is one of the largest and most impressive old engineering works areas in Finland, with the visitors having an opportunity to absorb the atmosphere of bygone industrial times. The area houses a high-standard restaurant and hotel, with elegant accommodation for up to 60 guests. The club restaurant offers local and wild food as well as game hunted under the instruction of the game warden. Guided tours are arranged in the dignified cultural surroundings. In addition to the Sawmill Museum and Ahlström Voyage exhibition, travellers can visit (upon advance reservation) Villa Mairea, probably the highlight of the design career of Alvar and Aino Aalto.

Villa Mairea

Located within the Noormarkku Works area, Villa Mairea was built in 1939 to serve as the home of Maire (née Ahlström) and Harry Gullichsen. The progressive couple were patrons of the arts, and they were interested in the clean-cut expression of modernism. Their good friends, the architects Aino and Alvar Aalto, had an opportunity to apply free and experimental design in the planning of Villa Mairea.

These favourable circumstances gave rise to a unique work of art, which is currently considered an international masterpiece in 20th century architecture. Interior design for Villa Mairea was in the hands of Aino Aalto.

Through the life’s work of Maire Gullichsen, Villa Mairea is linked in many ways to the arts institutions and design sector of Finland, for example to the furniture business Artek and Galerie Artek, Free Art School and Pori Art Museum. She played a decisive role in the establishment of all of these.

Villa Mairea is only open to visitors by advance reservation.

Villa Mairea

A. Ahlström Osakeyhtiö in the hub of Finnish industrial history

A. Ahlström Kiinteistöt Oy has received awards for keeping and maintaining the Noormarkku and Kauttua Works areas, which hold cultural history value.

The award-winning Ahlström Voyage exhibition housed in the old smithery describes Finnish industrial history over the past 160 years. The exhibition presents iconic glass art from the collections of the Iittala, Karhula and Riihimäki glass factories, such as unique specimens of the Savoy vase, an impressive collection of Tapio Wirkkala’s production and Timo Sarpaneva’s Orkidea. There is also information on the friendship and co-operation between the Aalto and Gullichsen families.

The forests and land and water areas owned by Ahlström are in a pristine condition. Guided full-service fishing and canoe safaris as well as hunting events of small and large game for groups are arranged in these areas. The nature trail in the forest adjacent to the Noormarkku Works area is available to everyone, and there are also guided birdwatching trips.

The Koli sauna includes a range of various types of saunas such as chimneyless sauna and wooden sauna as well as an outdoor hot tub beside the River Noormarkunjoki.

Noormarkku works

Pori Art Museum and Jusélius Mausoleum

Pori Art Museum is a museum of contemporary art, built around the collection of Maire Gullichsen in 1981. The museum presents the latest trends in Finnish and international art.

Constructivism, Fluxus and trends in land and conceptual art have paved the way for exploring new phenomena. The collections and archives of the museum that serves as the regional art museum of Satakunta focus on modernism and newer art.

The National Urban Park of Pori houses one of the most famous sights in Pori at the Käppärä cemetery: Jusélius Mausoleum. The building of the mausoleum was commissioned by the industrialist Fritz Arthur Jusélius as the final resting place of her daughter Sigrid, who died of
tuberculosis at the age of 11.

The mausoleum is of the neo-gothic architectural style, and its original frescos painted by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, the foremost representative of the nationalist romanticist style in Finland, were destroyed in the early 20th century. By 1925, the frescos had been replaced by a bronze relief by the sculptor Emil Cedercreutz. The current frescos were painted in 1933 to 1939 by the artist Jorma Gallen-Kallela after sketches drawn up by his father Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

Visit Pori

Pori Art Museum