Central Government Offices

Central Government Offices

Aalto completed the administrative complex with a white-rendered, three-storey office building. He wanted to create an end point for the axis that started from the church and crossed through the Citizens’ Square – “a calm background building,” as Aalto is known to have described it. The architecturally most significant part of the building is the district court, which today is used as a meeting facility. Over the years, the office building has been home to the inland revenue service and the police.

Alvar Aallon katu 9

Opening hours:
Weekdays 9am–3pm

Listen more on Cental Government Offices here: https://tarinasoitin.fi/seinajoenaalto/en/offices

On a visit to the Central Government Offices

Matti-Alvari is a second-year student in primary school and is going to his mother Anneli after the end of the school day. His mother works in the brand-new Central Government Offices. It is December 1968. The eight-year-old boy jumps over piles of snow in the yard. Suddenly he begins to peer at the façade of the government offices. He looks closely, covers one eye and looks again. Once inside, he climbs up to the second storey to his mother’s office and asks: ‘Mother, does this building have two or three storeys?’ His mother also thinks that the building looks like it has two storeys, when it actually has three.

At the time of the town hall contest, people began to envision that Alvar Aalto could also designthe Central Government Offices in order to complete the set. Construction slow, since permission for approval of the property and approval of the building’s design had to be sought from the central government. Two years passed before the government approved the room plan. According to the plan, the government offices would in time house the Ilmajoki District Court, a police station, tax office, employment agency and the Seinäjoki military district. (the story continues after the illustration)

Aalto-tarina: virastotalo

In Aalto’s opinion, the government offices should hierarchically be more modest than the other buildings of Seinäjoki’s administrative centre. Thus the height of the building could not exceed two storeys. However, the building was built with three storeys. Aalto’s vision was to make the government offices a ‘calm background building’ as an endpoint to the administrative centre. But he did not a want an overly sober-looking building. Aalto thought that the building’s façade should be lively. He tried to implement this with the varied spacing of the window dividers and the slanted wall on the southern end.

‘Let’s go to the district court hall’, Anneli suggests to her son. ‘I need to take important papers there for the hearing.’ In the district court hall, the boy’s mother says that this room is the building’s most significant space architecturally. In Matti-Alvari’s opinion there’s nothing special about the room. However, the sharp-eyed Matti-Alvari notices that there are many details in the Central Government Offices similar to what he has seen at the City Hall. His attention is especially drawn to the wall surfaces made of wooden slats.

Text: Marjo Kamila and Kari Hernesniemi (Oddmob)
Images: Kari Hernesniemi (Oddmob)

Read the whole story from here.

Aalto inspiroi
Alvar Aalto cities Seinäjoki

Central Government Offices

• In Seinäjoki, it was considered necessary to have the administrative centre as an architecturally unified whole, so the Central Government Offices would also be located in the same area and the designer would also be Alvar Aalto. The central government agreed to the procurement after many phases.

• The government offices became the endpoint of the axis departing from the church and crossing the Citizens’ Square.

• Nowadays the government offices building is owned by the city and used as workspaces for officials.

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