The Aalto House
The house in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki, was completed as Aino and Alvar Aalto’s home and studio in 1936. Aalto’s architect’s office was in this building until 1955. The Aalto House is a cosy, intimate building for living and working, designed by two architects for themselves, using simple uncluttered materials.
The natural materials soften the form language of modern architecture. Designing their own home gave Aino and Alvar Aalto an opportunity to make various structural and material experiments. The way that the rooms in this building with its closed street façade face in different directions has been carefully considered. Natural light and orientation of rooms and terraces were important. Main living areas open towards south and the garden. The house has four open hearths.
Alvar Aalto lived in the house on Riihitie up until his death, and the building was used by the family long afterwards. The house, protected by the Act on the Protection of Buildings, is now part of the Alvar Aalto Museum and open as a home museum.
The Aalto House combines modern materials and a modern vocabulary of form with tradition, and gives nature a foothold in an entirely new way. The building which was built in almost completely untouched surroundings is an example of Aalto’s design philosophy. Making use of the natural surroundings as a starting point for his designs became Aalto's trademark.
The interiors were elegantly furnished in every detail. A number of meticulously thought details provide a glimpse to the life of the architect couple and their family and highlight the intermingling of living and working facilities. The studio and the family’s living areas have been discreetly separated from each other through choices of material. This can be seen in both the façades and the interiors.
Aalto’s own home was his first proper building in Helsinki. It is a sort of prototype private house, from which he subsequently developed variations for the other one-family houses he designed. There are many similarities between Aalto’s own house and the famous Villa Mairea which was designed soon after.
Public guided tours of the home museum are available throughout the year. The museum shop in the house showcases Finnish Design and also sells books on architecture and design. There are several cafés near the house. Don’t forget to have a glimpse of the Alvar Aalto designed red-brick residential buildings nearby. Check AALTOsites app for other Aalto-designed buildings in Helsinki region!