Alvar Aalto and Elissa Aalto designed these blocks of flats in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki, for the employees of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. Seen in the cityscape the redbrick high-rise blocks form an integrated whole.

The four and five storey buildings were sited beside the street, leaving plenty of room for the buildings’ yard area. The idea was that the buildings would shelter the yard area from the traffic in the street. The Aaltos planned a paved, open area – a piazza – adjoining the buildings, with a fountain. The fountain and small day-care centre building also planned to go beside the piazza were not built. The open area, raised slightly above street level, and the other yard and street areas form a nuanced whole.

The Aaltos knew Munkkiniemi well. At the start of the 1930s, Alvar Aalto designed a residential area for the M.G. Stenius company, but it was not built. He was also a member of the Munkkiniemi building committee in 1937–39. Both Aaltos’ home and studio are in Munkkiniemi.

More information on Alvar Aalto Foundation website.

Location

Kadetintie 10, Helsinki
60.1957361, 24.879565

Images

Facade, National Pensions Institute Housing
Facade, National Pensions Institute Housing (© Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Museum)
National Pensions Institute Housing
National Pensions Institute Housing (© Maija Holma / Alvar Aalto Museum)
Piazza, National Pensions Institute Housing
Piazza, National Pensions Institute Housing (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
National Pensions Institute Housing
National Pensions Institute Housing (© Adham Fethulla / Alvar Aalto Museum)
Alvar Aalto in the yard area, National Pensions Institute Housing
Alvar Aalto in the yard area, National Pensions Institute Housing (© Alvar Aalto Museum)
Flat floor plan, National Pensions Institute Housing
Flat floor plan, National Pensions Institute Housing (© Alvar Aalto Museum)

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