Implementation of the Aaltos’ winning entry in the Lahti church competition of 1950 was postponed until a completely different building site was designated: the hill on which stood the city’s wooden church, designed in the late 19th century by Jacob Ahrenberg. The Aalto office was commissioned in 1969 to design a new, larger church to replace the old one.

The Aaltos’ point of departure was the fact that the city’s central square is flanked on either side by a hill. One of the main streets leads straight up to the City Hall designed by Eliel Saarinen, whereas the opposite street axis leads to the top of the hill on which the Aaltos’ new church was erected as the city’s second architectural landmark.

The ground plan is an equilateral triangle with two severed angles. It is placed slightly off the street axis, but a wedge-shaped vestibule added to the structure brings the entrance hall windows, shaped like a monumental cross, at right angles with the street perspective. The facade material is dark red brick except for the massive bell tower of raw concrete, integrated into the northwest corner of the church.

More information on Alvar Aalto Foundation website.

Location

Kirkkokatu 4, Lahti
60.9856059, 25.657233

Images

Church of the Cross
Church of the Cross (© Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Church of the Cross
Church of the Cross (© Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Entrance facade, Church of the Cross
Entrance facade, Church of the Cross (© Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Church hall, Church of the Cross
Church hall, Church of the Cross (© Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Church of the Cross
Church of the Cross (© Adham Fethulla / Alvar Aalto Foundation)
Sketches, Church of the Cross
Sketches, Church of the Cross (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Ground plan, Church of the Cross
Ground plan, Church of the Cross (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Section, Church of the Cross
Section, Church of the Cross (© Alvar Aalto Museum)

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