Alvar Aalto - Finland
Jyväskylä Defence Corps Building
Kilpisenkatu 8, Jyväskylä
1926 - 1929

  In March 1926 the Defence Corps District of Jyväskylä arranged an open architectural competiton for a headquarters of the local Defence Corps units. Alvar Aalto, then a young architect, won second prize with his competition proposal 'Intra Muros'. Since the winning competiton entry never materialized, a follow-up competition was organzied between the second and the third prize winners. In the end it was decided to construct the building according to Alvar Aaltos original proposal. The design by Alvar Aalto is strongly influenced by the Nordic neo-classicism, which was the popular style at this time. In later stages of the construction most of the ornamental details on the elevations were dropped, even if the building in its general layout is nearly identical to the original proposal. The building was incorporated into a blind perimeter block, resulting in windowless outer walls. The streetfront facade is of an austere, neo-classical apearance, while the courtyard elevation give a much more personal impression. As special features of the courtyard are to be mentioned the imposing stair tower and the vast 'parade window'. This window allows for unobstructed views of parades in the courtyard from the assembley room on the first floor. The Jyväskylä Defence Corps Building is considerd to be on of the works which mark Alvar Aaltos move toward a modernist architectural language. This is especially obvious in the floor plans, where he deviates from the rigid symmetry of neo-classicism. Instead he opts for a more flexible and mor functional layout of the interiors. When the Defence Corps District of Central Finland ran into financial difficulties in 1934 this building became a government property. Unhappily the building has undergone several conversions and was chan