Muuratsalo Experimental House
The Muuratsalo Experimental House is situated on the western shore of the island of Muuratsalo. The tower of Muurame Church
The rocky site measures
Within the grounds of the Experimental House are the house itself, a woodshed, smoke sauna and a boat-house for the launch Nemo propheta in patria. The summer home, usually known as the Experimental House, consists of the main
The main building contains the living areas with their main windows looking onto the internal courtyard. The balustrade of the gallery studio looks down onto the living-room, which is dominated by a large fireplace. The bedrooms in the other wing open off a closed corridor - Elissa and Alvar Aalto's bedroom has a window with a wooden shutter opening onto the courtyard. The kitchen and the bathroom are in the angle of the L. The space between functions as a hall and leads to the quest wing. There are two exits from this space, one on the east side to the garden and the other to the northern part of the grounds where there is a path leading through an venue of apple trees towards the shore and the sauna. The slope beside the building is terraced in the same way as at Säynätsalo Town Hall.
In Arkkitehti (the Finnish Architectural Review), number 9-10/53, Aalto describes the building as a combination of a projected architect's studio and an experimental centre for carrying out experiments ...that are not yet sufficiently well developed to be tried out in practice and where the proximity of nature may offer inspiration for both form and stucture. Aalto's aim was to create a kind of laboratory which would at the same time be combined with a playful approach.
The main experimental areas Aalto mentioned were
1. experimenting with building without foundations
2. experimenting with free-form brick construction
3. experimenting with free-form column structures
4. experimenting with solar heating
Aalto experimented continuously in the buildings at the Experimental House, with a variety of different forms and dimensions. The location of the buildings is unrestricted and playful. On the walls of the internal courtyard, he tested different ceramic materials, different types of brick pointing, different brick sizes and the effect of different surfaces. On the surface of the courtyard, the different sectors were tested with a variety of different finishing techniques, from brick and stone to the aesthetic effect and durability of decorative plants and mosses.
'Free-form brick construction' and 'solar heating' experiments were not carried out but 'building without foundations' was implemented in the sub-structure of the floor of the quest wing. 'Free-form column structure' experiments were carried out in the woodshed in such a way that the load-bearing wooden columns are placed in the most avantageous points in the terrain.
The Experimental House functioned as a summer home for the Aalto family until 1994. The furniture in the house is Artek and designed by Alvar Aalto. Alvar Aalto museum takes care of building and is organizing guided tours.text: Hanni Sippo | photo: Maija Holma 1996 Alvar Aalto Foundation