Finlandia Hall designed by Alvar Aalto

The Finlandia Hall is a congress and event venue in the centre of Helsinki on the Töölönlahti Bay, owned by the City of Helsinki. The concept was completed in 1962, and between 1967 and 1971, the building was completed. In 1971, the building, designed by the architect Alvar Aalto, was completed. Aalto designs every detail of the building. The Congress Wing was planned in 1970 and constructed between 1973 and 1975. The building was enlarged in 2011 with a modern exhibition and conference facilities. Finland Hall is recognised as the location for the OSCE Summit (Conference on Peace and Cooperation in Europe) held in August 1975, attended by 35 world leaders, including the leader of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, and the President of the United States, Gerald Ford.


The Finland Hall and its Congress wing were the only part of the plan to create a grand new monumental centre for Helsinki around the Töölö Bay area, planned by Alvar Aalto in 1959-1976. A tower with a sloping roof is the main feature of the Finlandia Hall building. Alvar Aalto’s concept behind the design was that an ample space would have better acoustics. The lattice ceiling masks the room for the audience but allows the development of the same deep post-echo as the tall church towers. Aalto used Italian Carrara marble on both indoor and outdoor surfaces as a contrast to black granite. For Aalto, marble connected the Mediterranean culture that he wanted to introduce to Finland.

“The ultimate goal of the architect is to create a paradise. Every house, every product of architecture… should be a fruit of our endeavour to build an earthly paradise for people.”

Alvar Aalto

The interior design of the building is a tribute to the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, that is to say, the complete work of art. The design of each lamp, piece of furniture, frame, flooring and decorative board reflects Aalto’s maturity as a result of his long career as an architect and designer of lamps, furniture and fixtures such as door handles. All materials speak the language of nature, with no technically artificial sounds. This is because the fundamental view of Aalto was that architecture must establish a human context. In the Finlandia Hall, the emphasis is not on extraordinary forms or showy interiors but audiences and performers. According to Aalto, the Finlandia Hall audience doesn’t have to dress like people dressed in foyers for the opera and golden concert halls of the past. What people wear in the building should be so real and natural.


Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

Finlandia Hall – Wikipedia.

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