“We can say that architecture always contains a human error, and in a deeper view, it is necessary; without it, the richness of life and its positive qualities cannot be expressed.” These are the inspiring words of one of my favorite architects, Alvar Aalto. I am dedicating this blog post to feature one of his works, the Saynatsalo Town Hall.
As the name implies, it is located in Saynatsalo, a former municipality in Finland. I believe that this building is a perfect example of what Aalto meant by ‘richness of life’ and ‘positive qualities’. Its most distinctive characteristic is arguably the use of red brick for the building envelope. The use of red brick evokes a sense of visual presence, which is typical of a public building. Other great qualities are the courtyard and ‘grass stairs’ which allow the building to mesh with the surrounding landscape, and as well serve as a public space. Through this building, Aalto brings the users/visitors to an exploration of two different realms – the social and natural realm of the town. The courtyard’s proximity to main spaces such as the library, town offices, and council chamber reflects Aalto’s design intention of making the town hall easily accessible to the public.