Alajärvi Youth Association Building
The stepped terrace house, set into a steeply rising slope, was originally meant to have been one of four but only this was built. The building contained seven units. Aalto produced the drawings between 1937–38. The stepped terrace house was one of the standardized dwellings which the A. Ahlstöm company’s management examined as part of an effort to improve living conditions in areas where they had production plants. The ties to the tradition and old architecture of the area were deliberately cut, and instead the environment was envisioned as a stage for both a new communal life and modern architecture.
The stepped terrace house is a living example of the architect’s desire to place the building as a part of nature: the multi-storey residential building follows the slope, such that the entrance to each dwelling is at ground level. The basement area stands below ground level due to the steep slope. The roof of the dwelling below supported a terrace that was the width of the unit. The smallest units were planned for the highest point on the hill. Granite was used for the treads and landings of external stairways from which pathways led to graveled terraces in the foreground of the entrance doors. The complex also contained a laundry at basement level. The terrace rails and pergolas for climbing plants are unstripped saplings.