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Aalto and the Post-war Rebuilding of Rovaniemi

Address: Rovaniemi, Finland Open Google map

Entrance fee: Free entry/upon request

Themes: Civic centers, Cultural buildings, Office buildings, Town plans

Website: Alvar Aalto in Rovaniemi

Opening hours

City Library of Rovaniemi open during winter
Mon-Thu 9-20
Fri 9-18
Sat 11-16
Sun closed
City Library of Rovaniemi open during summer (June-August)
Mon-Thu 9-19
Fri 9-17
Sat 11-15
Sun closed

Rovaniemi suffered badly in World War II, as approximately 90 percent of buildings in the town centre were destroyed in 1944. The rebuilding process started quickly after the tragedy, led by Alvar Aalto.

The Reindeer Antler Town Plan

The architect gave a new shape to the town known as The Reindeer Antler Town Plan.
Aalto’s genius vision has central Rovaniemi wrapped inside the reindeer’s head, with the Keskuskenttä sports stadium as the eye. Roads leading north, west and south make up the antlers.

Rovaniemi Administrative and Cultural Centre

Aalto’s main work in Rovaniemi is the Administrative and Cultural centre, also known as the Aalto centre, which consists of Rovaniemi Town Hall, Rovaniemi City Library and Lappia Hall, a congress venue and the home of Rovaniemi Theatre.

The library was constructed first, in 1966, followed by Lappia Hall in 1976, which was the last building Aalto saw completed before his death in the same year. The city hall was completed posthumously in 1988, the plans of which were finalized by Aalto’s architect wife Elissa Aalto.

Housing by Alvar Aalto in Rovaniemi

Besides large public projects, Alvar Aalto also designed housing in Rovaniemi. The Korkalorinne Housing area (1956–60) features row houses and apartment buildings in parklike surroundings, and in central Rovaniemi, several buildings designed for the Aho business family were planned as part of a tight urban milieu.

Aalto’s main work in Rovaniemi is the administrative and cultural centre; pictured Rovaniemi City Hall. Picture: City of Rovaniemi

Lappia Hall is the home of Rovaniemi theatre, and a famous congress hall. Photo: City of Rovaniemi

Wintery Lappia Hall in Rovaniemi photo City of Rovaniemi
Wintery Lappia Hall. Photo: City of Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi Library has beautiful roof windows, photo City of Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi Library has beautiful roof windows. Photo: City of Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi Aalto Center
Light fixtures designed by Aalto at the Rovaniemi library. Photo: City of Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi council hall
Rovaniemi Council Hall provides enchanting atmosphere for meetings. Photo: City of Rovaniemi
Block-of-flats in Tapiola Rovaniemi photo City of Rovaniemi
Aalto designed block-of-flats to Rovaniemi as well. Photo City of Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi council hall windows
Rovaniemi City Hall is situated in the heart of Rovaniemi. Photo: City of Rovaniemi

Information for visitors

Good to know

Arriving to Rovaniemi

The distance between Helsinki and Rovaniemi is approximately 820 kilometres. You can reach Rovaniemi by plane, train, bus and car. Distances within the city are relatively short and therefore you can reach sights either on foot or by catching a local bus or taking a taxi. Read more about arriving to Rovaniemi and getting around in the city from Visit Rovaniemi website!

Administrative and Cultural Centre:

Lappia Hall, Jorma Eton tie 8 A

City Hall, Hallituskatu 7

City Library, Jorma Eton tie 6

You will also find more information about Alvar Aalto’s and other major architects’ works at Visit Rovaniemi website.

Please note that you can purchase publications about Alvar Aalto’s architecture in Rovaniemi as well as download architectural drawings from Alvar Aalto web shop!