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AFA - Alvar Aalto museum extension

"The structure made of white metal columns supporting the roof, looks like some geometrical trees"

Client/Maître d'ouvrage:Alvar Aalto Foundation
Location/Lieu:Jyvaskyla, Finland
Area/Surface: 280sqm/280m²
Cooperation/Collaboration: ---
Status/Status: Competition/Concours

The city of Jyväskylä, in the north of Finland has the distinction of hosting two buildings of the architect Alvar Aalto within the Ruusupuisto neighborhood: the Central Museum of Finland built in two stages (the original building was built in 1961 and an extension increasing the area of ​​the museum in 1990) and right next to it, Aalto also built the museum of its foundation in 1973.


The implementation of these two buildings left a planted gap in which nature has taken over.

As time passed, other buildings where built in the area, including an university equipment with a large open square in front of the two museums but having no connection with these.


The void generated by the two museums has created a functional disorder because both institutions coexist without actually having any relationship. In addition each of them has functions or spaces that may be beneficial for both museums. The Central Museum of Finland has an auditorium and a lift, whereas the Alvar Aalto Museum has some training rooms and a cafeteria with a terrace overlooking a pond, etc ...


To overcome these dysfunctions, an extension for accommodating a new shop linking the museums will be created. It will synergize the museum spaces and balance the cultural site.

The extension is a gateway between the two institutions. It offers a shared shop to the two museums, which will allow selling the various products associated with the activity of the cultural site and with the architect Alvar Aalto.

It is also a unique transition space that connects the different levels of each institution. It is a light pavilion wrapped by a printed glass screen which reproduces the pattern of the surrounding vegetation. Two inner vegetal courtyards bring nature into the museums and act as smooth transition around which the circulations are organized.


The shop is completely open on the site and its surrounding. Besides, the structure made of white metal columns supporting the roof look like some geometrical trees. The interior ceiling undulates like the tree leaf, it is made of hundreds of square elements placed at different heights. Throughout the day the space is bathed with natural light with some of these elements that are occasionally open to the sky and covered with a gold color cladding. These skylights provide a soft golden light to the space.


The access to the two museums and the relationship they have with the university building square were redesigned to facilitate exchanges and interactions between the equipments.

The site is now a large square completely pedestrian with stairs and ramps that allow people to easily go from one museum to another.


The new extension has a double reading. From the outside, it is a discreet glass building that seems to disappear and in the inside, it hides a strong architecture in relation to its site creating a link between the museum of Central Finland and the Alvar Aalto Museum.

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