“Nothing that is old can be reborn. But nor will it disappear entirely. And that which once was, always returns in some new form.” Alvar Aalto, 1921
The new Aalto2 Museum Centre, to open in the Ruusupuisto park in Jyväskylä on 27 May 2023, will draw on Alvar Aalto’s architecture and design and the cultural heritage of Central Finland to form a new whole. The wide range of exhibitions, events and services at Aalto2 will fulfil Alvar Aalto’s wish of creating a forum to bring together a variety of art forms.
A fresh concept
The Aalto2 Museum Centre consists of two buildings designed by Alvar Aalto – the Alvar Aalto Museum (1971–73, 2023) and the Museum of Central Finland (1956–61, 1991, 2019) – and a new extension, which is being built to connect them (2023). Together, these comprise just over 5,000 square metres, forming the premises of the Aalto2 Museum Centre. The total cost of the project was approximately 16 million euros, of which the state subsidy by the Ministry of Education and Culture totalled 4.1 million euros.
The renovated Alvar Aalto Museum will open its doors after a break of a few years. The museum has undergone structural repairs, the building services have been renewed, and changes have been made to the facilities to serve the new Aalto2 concept.
The international ideas competition, held in 2015–2016, for the Aalto2 extension connecting the Museum of Central Finland and the Alvar Aalto Museum was a unique opportunity to develop something new to join the two Alvar Aalto buildings into a whole concept. The second most popular Finnish architectural competition of all time attracted nearly 700 entries from around the world, once again demonstrating the international appeal of Aalto’s architecture. The final extension design is by A-Konsultit Architects, which was also responsible for the renovation of both museums.
The light and spacious extension responds to customers’ wishes by improving accessibility to the museums and increasing cooperation opportunities. The common lobby space, museum shop and café form a whole and a cosy “living room”, making it easier for people to explore the museum centre and its exhibitions. With the improved accessibility of Aalto2 and the joint use of the premises, larger exhibitions, related events and service packages can be offered for different target groups.
“The new museum centre will have a profile as a multifunctional building specialising in cultural environments, architecture and design, offering experiential content that attracts an increasingly wide audience”, says the Director of Museums for the City of Jyväskylä, Heli-Maija Voutilainen of the Museum of Central Finland.
“At the same time, the architecture of the Aalto2 Museum Centre and the exhibitions held there provide a globally unique opportunity for visitors to explore the architect Alvar Aalto’s growth environment, design ideas and realised projects in an authentic space”, adds the CEO of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, Tommi Lindh.
Multifaceted exhibition content
Aalto2 naturally combines art and science, cultural environments, architecture, and design. The museum centre offers an interesting and multifaceted exhibition programme, as well as new events for different target groups. Aalto2 inspires people of different ages from near and far. The Aalto2 content is produced by the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland, together with their international, national and local partners.
The opening exhibition to feature world heritage from near and far
The founding museums of the Aalto2 Museum Centre, active promoters of world heritage, will produce a joint exhibition, “Human Traces – World Heritage”, for the opening of Aalto2 on 27 May. The curators of the exhibition, the Finnish-Spanish architect duo Anna and Eugeni Bach, are also responsible for the exhibition design. “Human Traces – World Heritage” will present both tangible and intangible heritage, from the Great Wall of China and Finnish sauna culture to modern architecture, linking it to works by Alvar Aalto. The exhibition will be on display at the Aalto2 Museum Centre in the form of five mini exhibitions that explore the diversity of built and cultural heritage.
Alvar Aalto and the spirit of Central Finland
The new permanent exhibition at the Alvar Aalto Museum and the permanent exhibition at the Museum of Central Finland are also part of the Aalto2 offering.
The new permanent exhibition at the Alvar Aalto Museum, “AALTO – Work and Life”, presents Aalto’s work and the ideas and influences behind his designs. The exhibition introduces visitors to the life and work of Alvar Aalto (1898–1976). Aalto is known as an architect and designer who worked with his wives, Aino Aalto (1894–1949) and Elissa Aalto (1922–1994), but also with a wide range of architects at his office, and with other important collaborators. According to Alvar Aalto, architecture and good design can solve problems in human life and society, as it is the architect’s duty to serve the little person. The exhibition goes beyond the surface – into Aalto’s design process itself – in which he treated every design brief as a new problem to be solved.
The permanent exhibition of the Museum of Central Finland, “Exploring Central Finland”, lets visitors explore the cultural heritage of Central Finland. The exhibition traces the spirit of Central Finland from prehistoric times to the year 2000. The exhibition reflects and presents the life of the average local person in different millennia, centuries and decades. The exhibition offers a wide range of things to see, listen to, and do for people of all ages. Visitors can listen to memories and stories, admire and marvel at the changing landscape and environment of Central Finland, take in a film, read a comic strip about the founding stages of the city, or immerse themselves in a smoke sauna, a sports event, or rap music.
The Aalto2 Museum Centre is a new meeting place for architecture, design and cultural heritage in Jyväskylä. The centre will open in May 2023 in honour of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Alvar Aalto.
Alvar Aalto Foundation
Tommi Lindh, Managing Director
+358 44 562 1625
Museum of Central Finland
Heli-Maija Voutilainen, Director of Museums
+358 50 355 5048
Communications Manager Mirkka Vidgrén
+358 40 168 5142
Conceptual drawing of the Aalto2 Museum Centre, A-Konsultit Architects.