In 1937, Alvar Aalto received a commission from the A. Ahlström company for the town planning and infill building of the Kauttua ironworks area. The ties to the tradition and old architecture of the area were deliberately cut, and instead Kauttua was envisioned as a stage for both a new communal life and modern architecture. The first house to be built in the area was a “stairless apartment block”, known as the stepped terrace house, completed in 1938.
The stepped terrace house was designed as housing for the company’s senior staff. Originally, there were to be several such houses placed on the slopes in the area. The stepped terrace house is a living example of the architect’s desire to place the building as a part of nature: the multi-storey residential building follows the slope, such that the entrance to each dwelling is at ground level.
The three upper blocks have half of the lower block’s roof for a terrace; in this way no-one can see his neighbour’s terrace. The three lower dwellings have a basement cut into the slope and contain three bedrooms, a kitchen, a servant’s room and a large living room looking out onto the terrace. The top block comprises three small apartments, two of which face out to the windowed rear of the building. The terrace rails and pergolas for climbing plants are unstripped saplings.