Friday, September 24, 2004

Aalto's sanatorium

Hello all,

Yes, today I made the "pilgrimmage" to Aalto's sanatorium in Paimio. I feel lucky that my reason for visitng was purely for pleasure, as most people there are extremely ill. While the hospital no longer treats tuberculosis exclusively, it is still a functioning hospital, specializing in lung ailments.

The bus ride to Paimio was through the Finnish countryside. Finland has vast forests, obviously, but they are unlike those that I'm familiar with. The trees are tall, straight, and dark. I think that the only types of trees that I've recognized have been some type of fir (pine, spruce, who knows) and white Birch. The effect is really amazing. For me, it makes me think of a Grimm fairytale. I know this sounds odd.

The sanatorium is a bright, light-filled place. The most dramatic location in the building is the topmost balcony. From this point, one can see far into the distance, over the dense forest of trees. Again, I keep repeating myself, it's really breathtaking.

As per usual, Aalto has many thoughtful details in his design. From the radiant panel on the ceiling above the patient's feet, to the curve of their sink, designed to quiet the flow of water, Aalto designs with amazing sensitivity. It is amazing not only to consider that one would be able to design every detail of a building, but that it could be done so well throughout.

An exception would be a rather odd fireplace in the activity room. It didn't have a conventional flue, and, as a result, has never worked. My tour guide explained that you can't fight physics. I guess not even Aalto could.

Signing off...pictures at some far point in the future

Elizabeth

p.s. forgive the grammatical/spelling errors. I'm trying to keep this a bit casual, or else I'd be revising myself to death.

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