Aalto designed the churchyard inside the Parish Centre so that it could accommodate outdoor events. In the parish hall, the acoustic cladding is made from common beech and the pews are made from red-hearted pine. These same wood types were also used in the interiors of the Lakeuden Risti church. The 213-foot church tower is a famous Seinäjoki landmark. The tower can be accessed by a lift.
Open during functions.
Listen more on Parish Centre here: https://tarinasoitin.fi/seinajoenaalto/en/parishcentre
Anneli squints and shades her eyes with her hand as she looks toward Lakeuden Risti’s high tower and the ridgeline of the church building. It is visible from here, she realises. She is standing in the exact same spot where years before she saw the height of the upcoming parish centre’s wall being measured by eye. Just like then, the weather is beautifully calm and sunny now in the summer of 1968.
When the parish centre was being built, people were afraid that the parish centre, which would surround the church in a U shape, would block the view of the church. Alvar Aalto had been thinking the same thing as he measured the view. For this reason, Aalto had had to removethe roof from the parish centre’s outer terrace, as well as shorten the north wing’s length and extend its width, to keep the building’s area the same.
The congregation had long deliberated how they would be able to afford the parish centre planned for the church grounds. They were desperate for a new space, however. The decision became easier when the loan market began to look better, and church tax became prepaid in 1960. (the story continues after the illustration)
Seinäjoki’s new procurement still ruffled feathers all the way up to the diocese; in question, after all, was a large expansion of the church grounds in a community of 15,000. The parsonage originally in the plan was left unbuilt, however, which in its own way actually helped the approval of the project – although this was done without asking Alvar Aalto’s opinion.
Anneli goes up the wide steps leading to the church yard from School Street. The sheltered church yard would be very suitable for holding even a large church event. She leans against the parish centre’s terrace railing and admires the view, which includes City Hall, the library and further to the west, the Central Government Offices, which are under construction and also designed by Alvar Aalto. This is really starting to look like a city centre, Anneli thinks.
Text: Marjo Kamila and Kari Hernesniemi (Oddmob)
Images: Kari Hernesniemi (Oddmob)
Read the whole story from here.