First week as a “caretaker” of the Town Hall

1.10. I started to act as a “caretaker” of the Säynätsalo Town Hall. There was an article on local newspaper “Säykki” in which they launched this word to describe my role on the activities of the building. I have a studio for my own work and in the same room there is a infodesk that I keep open every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at least until Christmas 2016.

The Aalto Info – as I call my studio and infodesk – is situated in the ground level of the building, but I offer to give short guided tours also to 2nd and 3rd floor.

I have been gladly surprised about visitors to the Info during the two first opening days. I have had local people telling stories about the island and the building, chinese family, architects and architect students, library staff, newspaper editor…

Alvar Aalto seems to be even more known and respected out of Finland? These people travel from Argentina, China, Japan, France, Italy… just to see the Town Hall. Of course they add to their visiting list also Finlandia Hall, Aalto Museum, Villa Mairea, Muurame church, etc. But all of them are asking about the use of the house and wondering if it realy possible to keep it empty and even closed for tourists. As “Säykki” wrote: these people are not just tourists, they don’t come for fun, but they come on true purpose.

I was surprised to find out also that the two guestrooms inside the house were full booked for this end of the week imediately after opened for booking. But the explanation was of course the Farmers expo that is going on in Jyväskylä. All hotels are full and these guestrooms seem to be the last chance. But all the farmers I have hosted here have been amazed of the building and even wanted to see the inside and buy some books about Aalto. It is good to hear thoughts and feelings for a change from non-architects!

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