Segments in this Video

Saynatsalo Center Introduction (01:57)


Alvar Aalto built the Finnish community space between 1949 and 1952. A modern architecture pioneer, he is famous for the Paimio Sanatorium and the Viipuri Library.

Saynatsalo Center Layout (03:06)

Inspired by Italian Renaissance hillside towns, Aalto incorporated a raised courtyard and irregular building wings to evoke an urban landscape.

Saynatsalo Center Materials (01:20)

Hear Aalto's reflection on a building's social role. He used brick, rejected by modern architects in favor of concrete.

Saynatsalo Town Hall (02:01)

Civic offices, shops, and a library occupy the structure. Aalto used brick and the tower height to assert civic architecture.

Saynatsalo Architectural Innovation (01:32)

Aalto created butterfly trusses for the council chamber ceiling, demonstrating his knowledge of carpentry and engineering.

Town Hall Detail (02:01)

Classroom style tables facilitate the Saynatsalo council decision making. Wooden shutters provide half-light.

Saynatsalo Center Lighting (01:20)

The tower belies the council chamber's simplicity. Aalto's interior lighting designs create an opaque effect.

Saynatsalo Center Library (00:48)

In contrast to the council chamber, the library has a transparent facade and open plan.

Aalto's Values (01:07)

Design diversity enriches the Saynatsalo building. The architect destroyed a bank sign mounted on its façade that he found offensive to democracy.

Saynatsalo Town Plan (01:46)

Aalto placed his community center in a triangular public space opposite an industrial building. The forested area remains.

Saynatsalo Landscape (01:06)

Aalto considered nature and buildings inseparable. Community center design elements evoke forests and lakes.

Saynatsalo Public Space (00:60)

Covered passageways provide access to town hall rooms. Aalto built heat systems into benches.

Design Details (00:52)

Aalto created furniture and door handles for the Saynatsalo Center.

"Experimental House" (03:08)

Aalto designed a summer home on Muuratsalo. Saynatsalo Center inspiration includes an open tower atrium and creative brickwork.

Finnish National Architect (01:10)

Aalto became an institution and was criticized for Helsinki designs late in life. The Saynatsalo Center proves his talent at civic architecture.

Credits: The Municipal Centre of Saynatsalo: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture (01:16)

Credits: The Municipal Centre of Saynatsalo: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

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The Municipal Center of Saynatsalo: Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture

Part of the Series : Architectures—Achievements in Modern Architecture
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Finnish architect Alvar Aalto designed the Säynätsalo Center, which houses local government offices and a public library on an island in Lake Päijänne. Inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture, a raised courtyard is bordered by a glass-enclosed circulation space and accessed by grass stairs. The town hall is crowned by the council chamber, a double-height space which is capped by innovative "Butterfly" trusses supporting both the roof and the ceiling. Aalto used traditional brick materials and juxtaposed opaque and transparent lighting in his work that asserts urban civic architecture and incorporates natural landscape elements.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: BVL65343

ISBN: 978-1-60057-654-6

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

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