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Project Overview

This project is inspired by Alvar Aalto’s architecture, paintings and design philosophy. It is an extension to an existing Scandinavian museum by (and partly about) Aalto, one of the world’s greatest architects of the last century.

A sculptural outer skin and green roof respond to Aalto’s originally intended continuous flow of landscape and water between the buildings.

The new extension remains somewhat concealed, waiting quietly in the shadows to be explored from inside – inviting visitors over and through – with a light visual and physical footprint. Its only visible facade appears as a folded screen and waterwall in the landscape, crafted from copper, one of Aalto’s preferred materials.

Contextual Response

“We should work for simple, good, undecorated things, but things that are in harmony with the human being and organically suited to the little man in the street.” (Alvar Aalto)

Spiralling internal and external ramps generate an inclusive, legible, continuous, organic, daylit visitor journey.

The Green Roof is a people’s park.

A waterway emulates Aalto’s original design demonstrating a ‘living’ model for urban water collection, cleansing, storage and reuse.

The water used in ponds and the water/ice wall recirculates through wetlands for treatment.

Architectural form

Organic layering of internal and external forms reflects mountainous pine covered ridges.

Sustainable timber structural canopy combines layered CLT panels (Cross-Lam Timber) sculpting a timber landscape internally.

The folded plate perforated wind screen is parametrically designed for light, view, wind and solar access. It extends Alto’s ponds to a vertical plane forming a natural seasonally-responsive backdrop.

This water/ice wall creates a visual and auditory anchor – a summer waterfall and winter icicles – with a changing patina seasonally and over time.

Humanising architecture

Daylight filters through the perforated screen and reflects from south facing skylights, washing visitors with shifting light play throughout the day.

Natural materials – timber, copper screen, earth roof – welcome visitors with human-scale textures ever-changing with seasons.

Activated, flexible circulation spaces through the shop is using material’s of the “little man” with its ‘crochet’ curtain.

A layered skin – wind-shielded, highly insulated, airtight – stabilises the internal temperature.

Controlled heat-recovery ventilation with geothermal heat pump for heating and cooling (backed-up by district heating) is integrated into the CLT interior.

The project was designed as part of an international architecture competition.


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