Skip to main content


“The tradition that binds us all has a lot to do with climate, practical circumstances and the quality of the tragedies and comedies that we take part in. I do not produce emphatically “Finnish” architecture and cannot indeed see any particular contrast between the Finnish and the international. My home country is part of Europe.” Alvar Aalto

The exhibition “Timeless Aalto – the DNA of Building Culture” is based on the architect and emeritus professor Tore Tallqvist’s long career in teaching and pondering architecture. The exhibition examines the timeless value-features of building culture that were central to Alvar Aalto’s architecture, and which gave shape to European architectural history over a period of three thousand years.

“A key approach in the exhibition is the construction of time-spaces, which interconnect the experience of architecture and the depth of time measured in the history of architecture. In this way, I want to shake up the short-sighted ways of thinking that often currently prevail in architecture because they ignore the temporal dimension and neglect the broader role of building culture in society”, says Tallqvist, talking about the basic idea of the exhibition.

The panels presenting the time spaces in the exhibition have been created as assignments in the University of Tampere’s Introduction to the History of Architecture course and in connection with optional drawing courses. Architect Marianna Verhe (1955−2017) has participated in supervising this over the years, and more recently this task has been performed by Professor Olli-Paavo Koponen. The latest panel depicting “Timeless Aalto” was created in Tampere in the spring of 2021 on an optional first-year distance-learning course. The scale model built by the architect Ari Rahikainen can be seen as the crystallization of the entire exhibition and the time-space created by Aalto’s life’s work. Aalto created Säynätsalo Town Hall in the middle of his career.

“The exhibition is also a comment in favour of trying to broadly understand architectural culture by creating wide-ranging overviews. It emphasizes the timeless diversity of building culture, and underlines the architect’s central professional mission to make holistic observations of “mit Auge das Alles sehen,” says Tallqvist, summing up his ideas for the audience.

Tore Tallqvist began his career as a student in Bengt Lundsten’s office and continued in Alvar Aalto’s architectural office, where he worked from 1965-72. In Aalto’s office, he participated in designing e.g. The Academic Bookstore in Helsinki (1961–69), along with The Savings Bank (1964–70) and Villa Skeppet (1969–70) in Tammisaari. Tallqvist worked at Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University) as a teacher of housing design and building conservation from 1969–85, and as a professor of architectural history at the University of Tampere from 1985–2009. He has since continued his teaching work as an emeritus professor and, inspired by Aalto, connected architecture, building conservation and the history of architecture as “the tripod of building culture”.

The exhibition has been produced in a collaboration between Tore Tallqvist, the University of Tampere and the City of Jyväskylä´s OUR urban environment policy. The exhibition is part of Jyväskylä’s Summer programme. The exhibition material has been partially displayed throughout the 2010s in Turku, Tampere, Helsinki and in Villa Lante in Rome. Architect Jussi Heinonen has collaborated with Tallqvist to create the graphic design of the exhibition.

The exhibtion can be visited during the guided tours of the Säynätsalo Town Hall:
17.6.–30.6. Mon, Wed and Fri at 11.00 and 16.30
1.7.–31.7. Mon-Fri at 11.00 and 16.30, Sat at 11.00
1.8.–15.9. Mon, Wed and Fri at 11.00 and 16.30

Further information:

Chief Curator, exhibitions Mari Murtoniemi
Tel. +358 40 355 9162

Producer Mari Forsberg
Tel. +358 45 679 0920

Media requests:
Communications Manager Mirkka Vidgrén
Tel. +358 40 168 5142

Timeless Aalto – The DNA of Building Culture

Säynätsalo Town Hall
Parviaisentie 9, 40900 Jyväskylä, Finland

Tel. + 358 40 135 6210



1. Säynätsalo Town Hall (1949-52) in 1950´s, Jyväskylä, Finland. Photo Eino Mäkinen Alvar Aalto Foundation.

2. and 3. The timeless content of building culture in Alvar Aalto’s life’s work. Model and photo: Ari Rahikainen.