Säynatsälo Town Hall

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Alvar Aalto, 1898–1976

Säynatsälo, Finland; 1949–52

Säynatsälo is an island in central Finland reached by bridges on a lake. This is not a well-populated region – even now, it is estimated that only 14,000 people live within 7 km (4 miles) of the island – so the town hall is modest in size. What is more surprising is that it was commissioned from an architect of such distinction.

Ten years earlier, Alvar Aalto had designed the Finnish national pavilion for the World’s Fair in New York; he had a permanent building to his name in the USA (Baker House at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1948) and his reputation was growing. Säynatsälo ...

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