Architecture The old conservation community building in Jyväskylä, designed by Alvar Aalto, was saved from destruction at the last minute – Exchange photos show the deformation of a demolished house

Built in 1929, the house represents the early works of Alvar Aalto and is located in the transition period of classicism and modernism.

17.11. 14:27

For decades In the center of Jyväskylä, dilapidated Alvar Aallon the renovation of the planned value house has been completed.

The former patronage building, now known as the State House, was completed next to Kirkkopuisto in 1929. In the days of its glory, a bank, a restaurant, a cinema and a market hall operated within its walls.

When Helsingin Sanomat visited the house seven years ago, the house was in an inconsolable condition: its staircase was full of rubbish and the walls were blunted with swastikas. The case is therefore a warning example that the protection of a house does not in itself guarantee that it will be maintained if it has no user.

The last decades of the value house have been a sad time. The house at the collapse point was banned in 2010, and no one seemed interested in a building whose estimated repair costs had risen high.

The city of Jyväskylä sold the house twice – the first transaction was canceled due to too low a transaction amount. The current owners Järvi-Suomen Asunnot Oy and Royal House Oy received the keys to the house in 2015.

The walls of the blue hall were blunt throughout. Picture from 2013.­

“Quite skeleton it was. In barren condition both physically and technically, ”recalls the architect, chief designer responsible for the renovation. Tapani Mustonen their first encounter with the State House.

However, the rare poor condition did not frighten Musta, as his office has conjured ruined houses back to their original splendor in the past. Architects Mustonen was responsible for, among other things, the restoration of the Vyborg library designed by Aalto.

“Admittedly, the foundations moved in only two parts,” Mustonen compares the targets.

A picture from 2006 shows what kind of damage there was in the house, for example in the light blue decorative frieze of the roof border.­

During the four-year renovation, Valtiontalo underwent extensive repairs.

Mustonen estimates that 15–20 percent of the building was completely demolished. All interior surfaces were redone. Genuine old is the frame of the building except for the demolished and rebuilt end of the ballroom.

The original parts of the building include mosaic concrete stairs, a few preserved windows and doors, some clinker surfaces, renovated brass pavers and decorations for the outer doors of the ballroom.

To the State House the damage done over the decades is largely due to the fact that the soil has been too bad for the conventional founding of the 1920s. When taller and deeper buildings were later built around the house, the land under the State House was disturbed. The construction of the environment thus influenced the foundation of the foundation.

The ballroom of the State House had suffered the most.

“From the 1970s onwards, its eastern end broke and landed. It was forced to be demolished during the renovation, and during the piling phase we even feared that the foundations would drain and the ballroom wing would collapse, ”says Mustonen.

As a result, the repairs were suspended for a year, as obtaining a demolition permit from the National Board of Antiquities required that the old building protection order had to be dismantled and a new protection order written, which made the measure possible.

In all, a total of 500 piles were struck at both ends of the foundations of the ballroom to make the foundation stable.

Mustosen according to the State House is in many ways an exceptional building in Aalto’s production. For example, the house had many users from the beginning and there was no need to create a unified internal transport network. This then has caused problems through the decades. The house, owned by the state, was never really made to work.

“In the 1920s, structural and functional thinking was still a bit clumsy for Aalto,” he says.

Also The Alvar Aalto Foundation rejoices in the new life of the building.

“We already had time to fear the worst, because now we were on the move at the last minute,” the architect Jonas Malmberg says. According to him, the State House is an example of what happens when waiting too long with repairs. The interior of the state house was practically completely renovated from the inside and part of the side wing was rebuilt.

“The end result is pretty much today’s interpretation of what a house would have once been and in many places a completely new kind of space has been consciously made. Remediation planning is always a balancing act and needs to think about how to take an appropriate position on the original. Today’s extensive construction work always involves today’s construction methods and techniques, and not all such drastic changes can be reversed later, ”says Malmberg.

According to him, the State House is more significant in terms of Aalto’s career and the formation of modern architecture than as a single building.

“The building is interesting because it represents Aalto’s early work and is located in a transition phase where currents of funk and modernism began to emerge during the Classicist era,” he says.

And of course the State House is important in Jyväskylä from the cityscape point of view. Aalto lived in the city for several years and designed a university, a swimming pool and a theater there, among other things.

Mixed Malmberg and Mustonen consider the State Hall to be the finest part of the ballroom, the stairs leading there and the walking hall.

“Aalto was interested in how the user travels in the building, what kind of routes are created there. Throughout his career, he thought a lot about stairs and level differences, ”Malmberg says.

Mustonen says that the renovation was able to preserve the original party stairs, but the ballroom pillar and large window were reconstructed, as they had been demolished in the 1940s.

The ballroom is currently in office use. The Alm Aalto Foundation’s Malmberg hopes that it will soon serve its original purpose, ie as a meeting and party space.

Mustonen hopes the same.

“When the whole block develops in solidity, it is again turned into a party space where you can organize chamber music concerts, for example.”

The building, which used to be a multi-purpose building, has already found new users.

The cinema has been replaced by YLE’s Central Finland editorial office. At the market hall on the first floor, there are now parish premises, and the premises of the Rural Savings Bank have been taken over by an engineering office.

On the top floors, in the former premises of the conservation municipalities and lots, there is an apartment hotel.

You can see Alvar Aalto’s architecture on the pages more historical pictures from the former Conservatory House, which in 1934 passed into the ownership of the State and changed its name to the State House.

State House in the 1930s, when the house already had a post office. There was a guest house in the house next door.­

In 1998, a gas station was located next to the State House, where a new music and art center in Jyväskylä was planned. Now the residential and commercial property Reimari has risen to the scene.­

In 2013, Esko Eriksson, the farm manager of the City of Jyväskylä, presented wire and rod arrangements that help the State House stay together.­

The original bronze doors of the State House were hardly bitten in 2013.­

State building renovation site in Jyväskylä on the edge of Kirkkopuisto in 2019.­

View from the lobby to the party staircase.­

The adjacent parking garage is built in the middle of the old courtyard of the State House. On the left is the preserved signal tower of the protection.­


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