ALVAR AALTO IN KAUTTUA, EURA
THE TERRACED HOUSE/THE STEPPED APARTMENT BUILDING, 1937 – 38
The Ahlström Corporation let build the Terraced House for the accomodation apartments of the upper officials and it was the first fulfilled building designed by Aalto in Kauttua. Aalto was one of the first architects representing modern style and the Terraced House represents modern functionalism quite correctly. According to the stylictic tendency the parts of the buildiong should improve practicality and all that is unnecessary is eliminated. The historical background of the Terraced House is based on the Mediterranean architecture which Aalto admired and which gave him inspiration for the shape and fasade of the building.
Aalto emphasized the importance of the main elements: light, air and practicality. The Terraced House has been placed on the slope and the roof of each appartment are terraces for the apartments higher up. Each apartment has its own path to the front door and the natural light gets in from the three points of the compass.
In the last master plan by Aalto there were four terraced houses all in all and they formed one part of the larger plan in Kauttua. Though Aalto designed The Terraced House to a typical house only one was completed because of the wartime and the lack of the building material of good quality.
The building is called the Terraced House and the stepped apartment building. Local people talk more about the stepped apartment building but Aalto, himself, used the name the Terraced House. That is why the official name of the building is the Terraced House.
Nowadays Ruukki-Invest Oy owns the whole building including six apartments of different size for hire. One apartment is a showroom maintained by the municipality of Eura and the other five apartments are still private homes.
”JOKISAUNA” THE JOKISAUNA SAUNA FACILITIES AND THE LAUNDRY BUILDING FOR LABOURERS
The sauna- and the laundry building built for the labourers is one of the most representative buildings from Aalto´s Karelian period. The building emphasize the Finnish nature and design. It is the timber building, originally with ridge roof, coved with sod and with the concrete ground. It is the two-storey house locating on the slope, so that the path lead to both stories.
Today in the building there are a cafe and a designshop Jokisauna OY. You can also hire this for private use.
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VILLA AALTO, FEMALE OFFICIALS´ DORMITORY, 1942
The dormitory designed to unmarried female officials of the paper mill with 12 dwelling rooms of the same kind and the common living room with the open fire place. The building called ”Tipula” has a square floor plan and its roof is like a pyramid. The facade is of light horizontal boarding and round chamfered wooden columns, decorating the terrace are as a main point of the building, these Aalto also used in handrails of the Terraced House and in Villa Mairea which has been built at the same time in Noormarkku.
The Ahlström Corporation still owns the building and it is now used for accomodation. You can only see the building from outside.
THE DWELLING HOUSE OF THE CHIEF ENGINEER AT LOHILUOMA, 1944
The dwelling house of the chief engineer of the paper refinery is situated in the residential area of Lohiluoma which is planned for officials. The building is a spacious two-storey wooden house by lake Pyhäjärvi. Aalto pointed out the variation of materials and the use of natural materials in the simple building.
Close to nature is a carrying theme in this object because the large windows of the living room open to lake Pyhäjärvi and on the side of the lake there is a sheltered terrace.
Now the building is privately owned and still used for accommodation.
A-TYPE HOUSES IN VARKAUDENMÄKI, 1942 – 46
It is known that four of the one family houses in Varkaudenmäki residential area are designed by Aalto and the other are modifiations of the so called A-type houses by the architects who worked for Aalto´s architect bureau. Aalto developed the industrial production of these standard houses and the first proposals for the standard houses were made in the year 1937. The wooden houses were made in the Ahlström Corporation´s house factory for prefabricated units from where they were brought to build on the spot.
The houses in Varkaudenmäki are based on the standard house AA – system which was based on prefabricated units. As a result there was the one family area of the same kind but variable in details. Typical of the buildings was simplicity, light horizontal matched boarding, asymmetric ridge of the roof and that the roof continues as a roof for the entrance.
The houses are still privately owned and still used for accomodation.
ELECTRIC HOUSES, 1944
The industrial building of the prefabrikated units was also suitable for building of the terraced houses and the so called electric houses were built in Kauttua. They were based on the construction of the A-type houses and were the dwelling houses for the workers. The fasade was of the same light horizontal matched boarding as in the one family houses in Varkaudenmäki.
Some changes have been made in the buildings: for example the details of the porches are not the same as in the original plans. It is told that they have got their names from the cookers installed in the houses which were the first of that kind in Kauttua.
The houses are still privately owned and still used for accomodation.
(THE DORMITORY CABIN) EXHIBITION HALL OR MACHINE WORKSHOP, 1942 – 43 AND 1944
During the war Aalto designed the dormitory cabin for the women who worked for a refinery near the Eura paper mill, the dormitory cabin had provisory accomodation for 160 people. Its working title was Parthenon (Jungfrubur).
The building was made of two opposite parts of red bricks which two years later was joined to a part of the new machine workshop
To the machine workshop the building was enlarged in 1944 when the extension of the refinery led to the building of the repair shop. We began to call the machine workshop Exhibition hall because it was influenced by the Exhibion Hall, in Helsinki, which also had a high middle space with windows on its side and lower wings. In Kauttua the new machine workshop was built between two former dormitory cabins to the higher part connecting those two former parts.
THE MASTER PLAN FOR KAUTTUA AND THE PROPOSAL FOR THE PLAN
Alvar Aalto´s first work in Kauttua was to draw a master plan for the area. The plan consisted of the factory area and the surrounding residential area – the area which we now call Ruukinpuisto. They wanted to cut the bonds as to tradition and the old architecture of the area and the aim was that Kauttua becomes a stage for a new society life and a new architecture. Aalto planned roads and buildings to adapt the nature and the buildings were located to south and west and thus the scenery was opened over the river valley. The plan consisted of Terraced Houses, block of flats and one-family one-storey houses. The building was started from Terraced House, only one of them was completed. From the vast plan besides the Terraced House only the labourers´ sauna and laundry building was completed.
Aalto drew also many vaster plans and proposals for a master plan, none of which was completed as a whole. The proposal for the plan, however, specified the growing trends of the industrial community and the use of land up to the 1960´s.
THe industrial community of Kauttua grew greatly from the beginning of 1940´s. and the areas were divided into various activities and social groups according to Aalto´s plans.
The background team is Harry and Maire Gullichsen, the Aalto Corporations´s manager couple who were the patrons of the modern architecture and art. Besides Aalto was the former friend of the couple and he had already received reputation as a leading name of the new Finnish arcitecture.