This scheme was submitted to a design competition commemorating the centennial of the birth of Alvar Aalto. The program called for a music and arts center of some 8,300 square meters, sited on a corner lot across from a park with a church in central Jyvaskyla, Finland. The new building was to renew and incorporate Aalto’s Defense Corps Building, an existing building on the same site.
The Defense Corps Building is an important work in understanding Aalto’s architecture. My proposal sets out to preserve this building with minimal disturbance to its exterior. The new building would be set in confrontation with the old by means of an atrium, 54 meters deep and from 20 to 30 meters high, that utilizes the exterior wall of the existing building. The old and new buildings would interact within this atrium space, opening a dialogue between the present and the past.
Within this atrium space -defined by the gray exterior wall of the Defense Corps Building and, opposite, the frosted glass wall of the Music and Arts Center- I placed a ramp that climbs to the concert hall and a broad staircase descending to the art museum. In order to articulate this space, I inserted a reinforced concrete partition inside the spiral of the ramp. In contrast, the roof and southern wall of the atrium are of transparent glass, and open this space to the park and its church. The exterior wall of the new building employs a 3-layer plane structure, combining non-transparent walls of concrete, transparent or semi-transparent walls of glass, and wood louvers. Using this 3-layer plane structure, I sought to govern the building’s relationship with its urban context by responding to that context through each interior function. In this way, I hoped to provide each part of the interior with space of suitable quality.