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Säynätsalo Town Hall

Säynätsalo Town Hall entrance fees and opening hours 2021

  • Entrance fee €10/ €6(students, retired, unemployed)
  • Free entrance with Finnish Museum card
  • Free entrance PRESS-, ICOM-, ICOMOS- ja DOCOMOMO cards
  • Children under 18 free entrance


Buy a ticket

  • at other times admission and guidance by prior arrangement (private guidance)


Tavolo Bianco has engaged in developing sustainable tourism. Read more!


A short history of the company Tavolo Bianco

Säynätsalo Town Hall is one of the most important buildings designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The building has a strong connection to surrounding nature and the community. At the end of the '40s, the project was a huge effort from a small municipal of Säynätsalo: a 3000-inhabitants, three rather small islands, but industrialized village.

Even from the very beginning, architects and students from all over the world started to visit Säynätsalo. The Town Hall was - and still is - an example of Aalto's sense of human scale, connection to nature, and skill to create a total art piece with details and control of the space and light.

After Säynätsalo was merged in the City of Jyväskylä in 1993, the visiting-interest was still there, but the town of Jyväskylä didn't find a way to use and keep the building open for visitors. Only the Library has always been in use and also open for visitors. Town Hall was first after the merge under quite low use and finally closed, but still, visitors were traveling from distant countries to see the building.

That is when the idea of opening the Town Hall again was born.
In the beginning, it was just a wild idea to have a working space for oneself-employer to do graphic design, editing, writing - and vice-versa, he - who was not an architect or tourist guide - promised to open the door for visitors.

The entrepreneur got even more interested in Alvar Aalto. He started to guide visitors, wrote an everyman's book about Aalto, and found out that apartments in the building could be available for the Accommodation business. He was even able to hire some help for the high-season. The town of Jyväskylä made a longer contract to rent more of the Town Hall to the entrepreneur.

It was obvious the locals had a strong connection and feelings to the building. Locals were invited to use the building for their own events, meetings, and even private occasions. The entrepreneur asked for some low fees to cover cleaning and service costs. The same self-employer, now kind of a guide, asked a fee for admission and a short tour to explain the building. The re-opened building quickly got 6500 annual visitors and half of them from abroad. Not only professionals and students but also Aalto-fans and tourists interested in nature, surrounding Lake Päijänne, and the islands - and also locals proudly bringing their long-distance guests to "Visit our Town Hall." 

The entrepreneur got a business partner. With her connections and Aalto-knowledge, business got more dimensions and opportunities. Unfortunately, she withdrew herself from the company after a couple of years.

The motto of the company is now crystallized in this sentence: "Regardless of your profession, education, experience, or what stage of your life you are in, what mobility you have, or who you love, you are always safe and welcome to visit Säynätsalo Town Hall."

Tavolo Bianco and the original entrepreneur emphasize sustainable tourism goals as they are as important as getting more visitors to visit the site. Town Hall building operators consciously develop activities so that the surrounding community, residents, and other entrepreneurs feel safe and comfortable and have the opportunity to find business and benefit from the area's uniqueness and attractiveness. After that come the comfort and needs of the tourists - in that order.

Read more about the entrepreneur.


Säynätsalo Town Hall 1949-52

Säynätsalo town hall, designed by Alvar Aalto, represents Aalto's architecture at its best. A contest was held by the municipality of Säynätsalo in 1949 and the town hall was finished in December 1951. The town hall started a new era in the productions of Alvar Aalto, of which the most significant mark was the use of the red brick.

Säynätsalo town hall is a building with many functions. The local council and library work there. The building also includes residential spaces, business rooms, and guest rooms. The building

is meant to be used by ordinary people but it is also designed for administrative tasks. Aalto wanted this to be shown also outwards. That's why there is a certain hierarchy in the building. The council chamber is on the highest level, which also presents its authority.

The main factor describing the building is the courtyard, patio. Aalto meant it to be a place for people to hang around, a piazza. On the side of the fountain is a sculpture of Wäinö Aaltonen, called 'Tanssijatar", dancer. One of the most interesting architectural innovations is the roof of the council chamber where the wooden structures can be seen. Aalto called this structure "Perhoset", butterflies. Aalto designed the town hall as a whole piece of artwork, which can be seen in small details and in furniture designed specifically for the building.

RENOVATION 1995–1998

Säynätsalo town hall is an internationally renowned monument in modern architectural history. On account of its architectural significance, the town hall's courtyard grouping was protected by a building preservation law 3 § 2 on 301 of May 1994. Säynätsalo municipality had become part of the city of Jyväskylä in 1993, which also meant that town hall now belonged to the city of Jyväskylä.

Renovation began in 1995 since there were damages caused by moisture in the building. The condition of the external covering and inner spaces was already satisfactory before the renovation, but the roof was generally in a bad state and there were leaks in several places. The technical standard of the services had become obsolete, too.

The exterior of the building had remained almost in its original form. lnterior spaces in the council chamber, entrance hall, meeting room of the local government and in the corridor encircling the inner courtyard had even their details remained in the original forms. The basis for the renovation plan was the original use of the building. The preservation ruling presupposed this. All the spaces were thus completely restored.

Added stairway in the eastern office section from the 1970s was removed during the renovation. Also, the apartments on the upper level, occasionally used by the municipal office, were reinstated as apartments.

Other alterations and repairs (except some changes concerning space and constructional and technical services) were carried out according to the original style and plan. Only broken or damaged parts were repaired. The patina of time and use of the building was left visible in those parts, which were not renewed.

Correcting the moisture problem from the structure of the building was vital for the preservation of the building and for a healthy residential and work environment. lt was important to save the old materials and details in the building for future generations.

The renovation was completed in 1998, just in time for the centenary of Alvar Aalto's birth.

The renovation was planned by the house-planning unit of the technical service center of the town of Jyväskylä. The town-housing unit was responsible for the construction and the town-planning department for instrumentation.

The National Board of Antiquities and Monuments and Alvar Aalto Museum supervised the execution of the conservation ruling.