In Alvar Aalto’s words, he didn’t like the idea of a museum devoted to one man — Instead it should be vital, where the arts and architecture are displayed from many angles. The Aalto office was commissioned to prepare drawings for Jyväskylä Art Museum, which were finished in autumn 1971. The building was completed in 1973.
The Alvar Aalto Museum is sited on a slope leading down towards Lake Jyväsjärvi. Above a high, white-painted concrete plinth, the elevations of the museum are clad in light-coloured ceramic tiles made by the famous Finnish porcelain manufacturer Arabia.
The vertical bands of baton-shaped glazed tiles divide up the rampart-like elevations to form a relief that gives a strong effect of depth when the surface is washed with light. The rampart-like quality is emphasised by the vertical battens on the roof windows of the exhibition galleries, which cause the roof lights to merge into the facade when looked at from a certain angle.
The entrance facade has no windows apart from a few tiny openings close to the doors. The surface of the massive doors is copper and there is a hint of marble on the left-hand side of the doorway. The roofscape is dominated by the east-facing roof lights.
The lower floor houses the foyer and cloakrooms, a café, Alvar Aalto Shop, offices and storage space. The upper floor exhibition gallery is about 700 square metres in area.
More information on Alvar Aalto Foundation website.