Paimio sanatorium

Location: Paimio Type of assignment: Website Timing: 2014 Architects: Alvar Aalto

This website was constructed in both Finnish and English to explain the architecture of the Paimio sanatorium in an accessible way and to summarise the research on the building by Marianna Heikinheimo. The website includes a wide selection of photographs documenting the property.

The Paimio sanatorium is one of the best known examples of modernist architecture from the interwar period, both in Finland and internationally. It is also regarded as the architectural breakthrough of its designer Alvar Aalto.

The board of construction for Paimio Sanatorium, also known as the Finnish Tuberculosis Sanatorium, established an architectural competition to design a new sanatorium with 184 beds. The open competition was won by Alvar Aalto and construction was begun shortly after.

Designing the sanatorium gave architects Alvar Aalto and his wife Aino Aalto a chance to test out some new design ideas they had adopted. With its hospital wings varying in height, its several courtyards and other parts the Paimio sanatorium almost resembled a small city of its own. The steel framed windows arranged resembling curtain walls and the mechanic movement of the lift gave the building a dynamic appearance. The architecture based on a reinforced concrete frame met the requirements at the time concerning hygiene, air quality and sunlight. The Aaltos saw the patients’ bedrooms as small flats which inspired them to develop movable and fixed furniture suitable for small spaces. The minimalist design of everyday objects reflected the architects’ appreciation for the aesthetics of industrially manufactured products. During the Paimio Sanatorium project Aalto’s collaboration with furniture manufacturer Otto Korhonen led to several patents of innovative furniture designs.

You can view the website here.

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