Government Building in Seinäjoki

Aalto Centre’s former government building

Project description:

The Government Building in Seinäjoki is part of the Seinäjoki Administrative and Cultural Centre, that is nationally an architecturally and culture historically significant whole. The building, completed in 1968, is designed by Alvar Aalto and has originally functioned as government offices until in 2003 it passed into the ownership of the City of Seinäjoki. The building was designed under government guidance under tight cost pressures. Nevertheless, the building has materials, details and building parts characteristic to Aalto’s architecture that bring atmosphere and value to it. During the design process, the east façade and its entrances which face the rest of the centre, were considered important, and with its its winding it differs from the straight west façade. The interior spaces are layed out – in modernist spirit – in corridors with workspaces lining them. There are only few exceptions: the district court hall stands out stylistically from the rest of the building, and is highlighted on the façade with ceramic moulding. 

The building is very well preserved in its original form. Architecturally the premise for the renovation was the respect and preservation of the valuable building. The luminosity of the lobbies and the flow of light in the building was restored by demolishing later added interior walls. Coating materials and furniture, eg. batten ceilings and wall panellings, were preserved where possible. In all renovations the age and patina were allowed to show. Materials were selected in line with the original ones. The preserving renovation was carried out on terms of functionality: the building was technically and functionally renovated into a multi-purpose office building with modern meeting, refreshment and auxiliary facilities. In addition, space changes were implemented to the basement of the building, where new plant rooms as well as a cleaners’ station were built, and staff’s social facilities were renovated. 

In the renovation planning, a big theme was the renal of the technical installations: new ventilation plant rooms were built on the roof and in the basement, and the natural air supply ventilation was replaced by mechanical ventilation. The drain systems were renewed. The electrical installations were completely renovated and a fire detection system was installed. The original luminaires, partly especially designed for the government building, were preserved; however, the light sources were modernized. Structures were compacted. The renewal of technical installations was implemented imperceptibly so that no new installations remained significantly visible, especially in the main premises or outdoors. 

The façades were renovated following the original light coloring and materials: render, wood and ceramics. The roof was also renewed. The entrance doors and wooden windows were renovated and an insulating glaze was added to the window’s inner shash. A plan to renovate the yard was drawn up with respect to the original landscaping and planting plan. 

Project info:

Year:2018 (interiors), 2021 (façades) 
Building permit granted:9/2017
Client:City of Seinäjoki
Location:Aalto Centre, Seinäjoki
Size:7 045 m2
Protection status:Protected by the Building Protection Act (in 2005) and planning notation srs-1
Original construction date:1968
Original architect:Alvar Aalto
Principal designer:Minna Lukander
Project architects:Jukka Sulonen, Mira Kyllönen
Other team members:Lassi Heikkinen
Photos:Anders Portman, Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy