AaltoAlvari Swimming Hall

Discover this destination
AaltoAlvari Swimming Hall in Jyväskylä
In addition to various water sports available at Aalto's swimming hall, you can also relax in their spa section. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Front Page > Destinations > AaltoAlvari Swimming Hall

AaltoAlvari is the only swimming hall designed by Alvar Aalto. AaltoAlvari also has a gym, sports hall and a cafeteria. AaltoAlvari is also part of the main campus of the Jyväskylä University campus that was designed by Aalto as well. The original design of the swimming hall is from the 1950’s. Soon after its completion the desire was expressed to extend the building. Further extensions were made in the 1960’s, 1970’s and in the 1990’s. The oldest part of the swimming hall was completed in 1955 and it has a 25 meter swimming pool. In 1964 children pool was added and in 1968 the gym was built. In 1975 a 50 meter swimming pool was also added. The latest addition to the building is the spa section which was completed in 1991. Following the renovation in 1991 the swimming hall was converted into a versatile spa-like centre, and was given the name AaltoAlvari. 

AaltoAlvari was protected by law in 1992, except for the spa section. AaltoAlvari has also been renovated over the years. The first renovation started in 1998 from the 1950’s part. The latest renovation was completed in 2013 and then the focus was for the 1970’s part. The spa section from the 1990’s is in its original state. Renovation for the spa section as well as adding an extension to it, is being planned. The goal of the future renovations is to make AaltoAlvari a leading water sports centre which will serve both the locals as well as travellers better.

In 1950’s it became more common to build swimming halls in Finland, however it often involved various arrangements for example concerning funding. In the case of Aalto’s swimming hall the client-developer was different than for all the other building on the campus, where it has been the National Board of Building, that is, the Finnish state. Here the client-developer was the University of Jyväskylä Student Union whom the city of Jyväskylä and the Finnish state partially funded as well. At the same time when the architectural competition for the campus area was in preparation in 1950, Jyväskylä Student Union was in the process of designing a hall with Ilmari Niemeläinen, who was an architect as well as a Olympia swimmer. Therefore the hall eventually became to be a part in the architectural competition for the campus as well.

In Aalto’s proposal URBS the new buildings were grouped around the sports field and he also preserved more of the older buildings in the area than the other competitors. URBS included the plans for the swimming hall and the Student Gymnasium Building already on the draft plan. The south-west end of the building was built adjoining to the Student Gymnasium Building. However, the main entrance to the swimming hall was designed on the north-west side of the building, that is, facing out from the campus area. On its completion the swimming hall was open not only to the college students but also to the citizens of Jyväskylä. This was one of the things in Aalto’s plan that got praised.

After Aalto won the competition, the swimming-hall also grew in size later. It was separated from the gymnasium building and a spectator seating and changing rooms and washrooms were added to the plan.  The original sizes of changing rooms and washrooms meant that they could be used only by one group at a time. Aalto’s swimming hall opened for public on 19th of May 1955.

Aalto Alvari in winter. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Aalto Alvari in winter. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Aalto Alvari sports field. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
Aalto Alvari sports field. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation

AaltoAlvari Swimming Hall


Pitkäkatu 2, 40700 Jyväskylä, Finland


+358 14 569 4296