- Completion 1939
- PeriodConstructing the identity of a newly independent nation
- Year of selection1993
Many building projects were realised in Finland at the end of the 1930s serving the needs of a society that was slowly becoming affluent. Building facilities for tourism became an important sector. One of the grandest examples of this was the elegant continental-style Aulanko Hotel in Hämeenlinna. In addition to catering to tourists, it also functioned as a congress venue – and a popular film location.
The hotel was placed at the edge of the beautiful natural park in the Vanajavesi lake district. The hotel, with its white-rendered facades, was framed by manicured lawns and shoreline rows of trees that contrasted sharply with the surrounding rural landscape. The location offered also excellent sports terrains, with skiing tracks and a golf course, which in the 1930s represented the ideals of a new lifestyle, consisting of outdoor activities and exercise.
The hotel was divided into a five-storey guest bedroom wing and a low section comprising the entrance lobby, café and restaurant. The café was separated by partitions into smaller sections. The versatility was increased by the option of combining hotel rooms in order to use them as conference rooms.
The outdoor terraces and planting areas tied the ground-floor spaces together. The spatial series leading from the lobby via the restaurant to the outside terrace are seamlessly joined together. Views over the park and lake were an important part of the interior ambience. The tall guest room wing was partly raised on pillars so that the view from that direction would be as open as possible. The wing also served as a landmark. Its rounded gable end dominated the entrance façade. The layout of the long west façade, in turn, was marked by rectangular balconies with glass-tiled floors.
The interior was marked by high-quality materials: high-gloss rubber flooring, bright oil-painted surfaces, glass tiles, silvery columns, numerous domestic wood species and natural stone. The lobby and the restaurant had an unprecedented luxurious atmosphere.
Aulanko still today operates as a hotel. This unfortunately has also entailed several alterations over the years that were insensitive to the original architecture. Additional building completed at various stages has obscured the clarity of the original hotel building. Some of the extensions have even been built onto the body of the original building, which has led to the closing off of open spaces and views. The building’s role in the park environment has largely remained the same, even though, when standing close up, new building construction has obscured the ground floor almost completely. In the interior the original materials and building components have to some extent been preserved.