Little architects at Town Hall

For the end of the fall-holiday two families decided to visit Säynänsalo Town Hall, designed by Alvar Aalto. There was a family from Vantaa visiting Jyväskylä, and therefore the group consisted of four adults and four children. From the dedication to the subject was the architect-mother responsible for. The children from Vantaa, Taika and Aamos and the kids from Jyväskylä had clearly gotten the same idea: they were participating very actively and interested in the architecture-, material, furniture and Aalto-conversations and the building tour.

The five-year-old Aamos gave me good help in taking care that the tour went on. If the adults seemed to get stuck at one place, Aamos reminded them: “Should we move to the next room already?” The children (and the adults) were doing great job at taking the museum’s rules in to account. They verified for example: “Can I sit here?” and “Can I go there?”. The kids seemed to be enjoying themselves and there were just enough activities for them. There was kept a few speeches for architecture at the city council’s speaker’s place, and the secretary’s small helpdesk and its secret lockers were investigated thoroughly. When I had first told about Alvar Aalto that he was a “great” Finnish architect, my favourite guidee Aamos began wondering in the extraordinarily high council hall, if the architect was also so tall that he needed such a high room aswell! But I suppose he was just joking with me.

At the board meeting room the kids wrote their greetings.

The important elements were found from the drawings: the stone and grass stairs, windows, the central yard, a fountain with statue and the shape of the building – correct! We hadn’t yet visited the council hall when these drawings were made. Its festivity and impressiveness could’ve then also been described in the drawings.

Later I got a rapport about a playful test that was given to the kids in the evening, where there were asked where they had visited, what was the architect called, what was architect-competition-work’s name, what animal had the roof construction gotten its name from because of its form, what was fanciest part, what was the tour guide’s name, what was there on the yard, how many grass stairs were there and so on. Both of the teams (boys and girls) had gotten 9/10 points! In the end the kids invented their own architect names and drew their own pictures. The youngest of the group, Aamos, drew a picture where he was wearing a shirt that had a picture of a house on it.

“Very successful ending for our fall holiday overall! And the next summer’s destination was decided too already;  Alvar Aalto’s Experimental House on Muuratsalo.”

The families visited also the Aalto-museum after Säynätsalo. And reportedly the highlight of the weekend was the AaltoAlvari-swimming hall. The original part of the swimming hall is designed by Alvar Aalto, and the building has been expanded several times according to the style. The group even went  to see the outside of the Rakentajan talo, Tietotalo (former police station) and the city theatre. The little architects, as well as the bigger ones, took also some pictures with their mobile phones. The rights for the pictures belong to Terhi Kupila, Taika Erjo and Kreetta Ahonen.


Text was translated by someone on Fiverr.
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