Aalto museum extension, Finland| Конкурс музея Аалто, Финляндия

Competition, 2015

The primary experience of our proposals is a spatial one with continually changing relationships and views through and between buildings to the landscape setting. The spirit of the change is complex and multivalent; the existing Museum buildings have a 'villa typology' and have settled into their context and the proposals seek to confidently retain the sense of the informality of the rising and maturing landscape in contrast to the more civic and assertive Ruusupuisto.

The existing section allows a gentle and accessible gradient, no greater than that adjacent to the water feature (1:21), to 'tack' and create a subtle and flexible enfilade that is characterised by broad spaces overlooking small gardens. Furthermore the retention of the existing trees ensures a layering of spaces and elements that brings intimacy to the central court while inviting filtered and dappled light to permeate into the new building. The landscape strategy to the site is that of a 'light touch' and acceptance of the existing condition with local adjustment or addition to materials and finishes; new signage and glazed entrance doors to the Alvar Aalto Museum for example to underline their continued primary role.

View of the retail exhibition space

Lower level plan

The character of the new spaces also informs how they are used with the front part acting more as a vitrine for objects and display that contrasts with the more closed character of the museums. An intimate rear section hosts an extensive and introspective shop for smaller items and books, the primary sales point and staff facilities. The loop of new shared space, linking all three levels, also affords the creation of a new cafe counter facing the court, allowing the building to operate independently if required, and sheltered external spaces. The existing Aalto cafe is 'eased' by a series of adjustments that follow the spirit of the original arrangement to make a direct connection between Museums, and provide a new accessible toilet and baby change facilities. To the rear, new storage and back of house spaces are fully concealed below the landscape with direct access to the existing Aalto Museum internal service ramp and external stair.

To the front of the building a sense of enclosure is created by a deep 'canopy' roof structure and solid corners that give the building a certain weight, while the measured proportions of the oak framing and glazing add to the sense of balance and relationship between the two Aalto buildings. To the rear, the rough shuttered and painted concrete slab meets directly the mullions to alter the spatial experience. Externally the mottled patination of the copper, and rhythm of standing seams, almost gives the material translucent or nacreous quality: facades are intended to weather overtime to allow the building to play a confident yet supportive role in the composition.

The link in context

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