In addition to Seinäjoki, the Administrative and Cultural Centre in Rovaniemi is the only city plan designed by Alvar Aalto that has been realized in Finland. The three buildings comprising the Aalto Center – the library, the Lappia Hall and the City Hall – are situated around a spacious, elongated area. The library was the first to be completed in 1968. The Lappia Hall was completed in 1975, and it became to be the last building whose completion Aalto witnessed before his passing. The city hall was completed in 1986, under plans finalised by Aalto’s architect wife Elissa Aalto.
The buildings are connected by their facade materials such as light tiles and ceramic tiles. The original materials for the interiors of the buildings were carefully selected too, as was the furniture and lighting. The architectural accents of the buildings face the square, so that the three structures are perceived as a strong architectural whole. The top windows of the library rise prominently from the rhythmically closed façade and bring natural light into the lending room. The ceiling structure of the Lappia Hall rises above the straight façade line with mountain-shaped prominences. Within the town hall building, the council hall creates a tower-like form which rises above the rest of the building.
Rovaniemi City Library
The Rovaniemi city library consists of two connected parts: a fan-shaped library hall and an elongated, rectangular office wing. The interior design of the library followed the concept typical to Aalto’s libraries, with the reading area placed on a lower level than the lending hall. The fan-shape also served the purpose of making the surveillance of the lending hall more efficient. Natural daylight and lighting design also played an important role within the library project. In addition to the actual library facilities, the building includes a music library, a newspaper hall, an exhibition and auditorium hall, and a children’s section.
Rovaniemi Town Hall
The completion of the Rovaniemi Town Hall in 1986 finalised the Aalto Centre. The town hall consists of several wings assembled around the central building. The most hierarchically important facilities of the building, such as the council hall, the meeting rooms and the mayor’s office are located around the main entrance. In particular, the tower-like council hall stands out against the building complex. After the completion of the town hall, the Aalto Centre square was further embellished by the sculpture “The Birth of Mountains” by artist Kain Tapper, which was put in place in 1988. Rovaniemi Town hall is closed for the time being due to renovation works.
The council hall inside at the Rovaniemi town hall creates a tower like form. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
The top windows of the Rovaniemi city library rise prominently from the rhythmically closed façade and bring natural light into the lending room. Photo: Maija Holma, Alvar Aalto Foundation
In addition to Seinäjoki, the Administrative and Cultural Centre in Rovaniemi is the only city plan designed by Alvar Aalto that has been realized in Finland. The three buildings comprising the Aalto Center - the library, the Lappia Hall and the City Hall - are situated around a spacious, elongated area.
Information for visitors
Good to know
Arriving to Rovaniemi
The city of Rovaniemi is well connected to the rest of the world via various means of transport. The distance between Helsinki and Rovaniemi is approximately 820 kilometres. Rovaniemi can be reached by plane, train, bus or car. Distances within the city are relatively short and you can reach sights either on foot or by catching a local bus or taking a taxi. You can reach Rovaniemi taxi service by calling +358 200 88 000.
Rovaniemi City Library is located on Jorma Eton tie 6 and the Town Hall is located on Hallituskatu 7.
Read more about arriving to Rovaniemi and getting around the city from the Visit Rovaniemi website.
You will also find more information about Alvar Aalto’s and other major architects’ works on the Visit Rovaniemi website.
You can purchase publications about Alvar Aalto’s architecture in Rovaniemi as well as download architectural drawings from the Alvar Aalto web shop!
Rovaniemi Town hall is closed for the time being due to renovation works.