Paimio Sanatorium

Paimio, Finland

Paimio Sanatorium is a former tuberculosis sanatorium in designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The building was completed in 1932, and soon after received critical acclaim both in Finland and abroad. The building served exclusively as a tuberculosis sanatorium until the early 1960s, when it was converted into a general hospital. Today the building is part of the Turku University Hospital. The sanatorium was nominated to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Aalto received the commission to design the building after winning an architectural competition for the project held in 1929. Though the building represents the 'modernist' period of Aalto's career, and followed many of the tenets of Le Corbusier's pioneering ideas for modernist architecture (e.g. ribbon windows, roof terraces, machine aesthetic), it also carried the seeds of Aalto's later move towards a more synthetic approach. For instance, the main entrance is marked by a nebulous-shaped canopy unlike anything being designed at that time by the older generation of modernist architects. The building is widely regarded as one of his most important early designs — designed at the same time as the Vyborg Library. Aalto and his wife Aino designed all of the sanatorium's furniture and interiors. Some of the furniture, most notably the Paimio chair, is still in production by Artek.

Aalto's starting point for the design of the sanatorium was to make the building itself a contributor to the healing process. He liked to call the building a "medical instrument". For instance, particular attention was paid to the design of the patient bedrooms: these generally held two patients, each with his or her own cupboard and washbasin. Aalto designed special non-splash basins, so that the patient would not disturb the other while washing. The patients spent many hours lying down, and thus Aalto placed the lamps in the room out of the patients line of vision and painted the ceiling a relaxing dark green so as to avoid glare. Each patient had their own specially designed cupboard, fixed to the wall and off the floor so as to aid in cleaning beneath it.

In the early years the only known "cure" for tuberculosis was complete rest in an environment with clean air and sunshine. Thus on each floor of the building, at the end of the patient bedroom wing, were sunning balconies, where weak patients could be pulled out in their beds. Healthier patients could go and lie on the sun deck on the very top floor of the building. As the patients spent a long time—typically several years—in the sanatorium, there was a distinct community atmosphere among both staff and patients; something which Aalto had taken into account in his designs, with various communal facilities, a chapel, as well as staff housing, and even specially laid out promenade routes through the surrounding forest landscape. In the 1950s the disease could be partly dealt with by surgery and thus a surgery wing, also designed by Aalto, was added. Soon after, antibiotics saw the virtual end of the disease, and the number of patients was reduced dramatically and the building was converted into a general hospital.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1932
Category:
Historical period: Independency (Finland)

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

ake play YT (11 months ago)
Älkää tulko
kauhukersa (11 months ago)
älkää vaan tulko tänne.
Juha Mattila (11 months ago)
Alvar Aalto Funktionalismi Sairaala
Max Koso (12 months ago)
A must visit for Aalto-fans. Some really special and awesome designs.
Fiia Virtanen (2 years ago)
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.