Turun Sanomat Building

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Photo: Gustaf Welin / AAM
  • PlaceTurku
  • Completion 1930
  • Decade1930s
  • PeriodConstructing the identity of a newly independent nation
  • Year of selection1993


After moving to live in Turku in 1927 Aalto got to know Arvo Ketonen, the managing director of the city’s newspaper Turun Sanomat. Ketonen had for already several years tried to initiate the construction of a new printing house. In order to launch the project, Aalto and Ketonen travelled to see printing houses in neighbouring countries. Although Aalto then had other work in progress, he completed the plans for the printing house already by October 1928. Aino Aalto-Marsio participated in the planning, as did the Norwegian architects Harald Wildhagen and Erling Bjertnäs. The structural engineer for the project was Emil Henriksson.

In addition to the printers, the building would also house the newspaper editing office, rented shop premises and a restaurant. The two top floors comprised apartments, which were rented to artists and actors. The managing director’s own apartment was located on the top floor. The plot was narrow and deep, and the building filled the entire site. The main elements of the printers, that is, the printing halls and the typesetting room were located on two basement floors. There is a total of five floors above ground. Originally the newspaper had a two-storey-high display window facing the Kauppiaskatu street side, behind which was their editorial office. Adjacent to the display window was the main entrance to the building. Four commercial premises were recessed behind triangule-shaped vitrine windows. The vitrines were demolished already in 1936, and in this respect the facade became uniform.

The structure of the Turun Sanomat building represented “Corbusian Functionalism”, with a reinforced concrete structure and thick concrete slabs supported on pillars. It was the first building in Turku with strip windows in the facade. A roof terrace ran along the edge of the roof, which was supposed to become a “Functionalist garden”. The building still has the original Crittall-Braat metal-framed windows, something which is not found to the same extent in other Aalto buildings in Turku.

Aalto paid special attention to the interior and designed all the details with consideration for their materials and colours. For example, the metal railing in the stairs of the main entrance was bound with leather. The stairwell of the main stairs was lit by a tall metal-framed window with multiple panes. The lift originally had Pompeii red walls. Aalto designed the lamps in the office corridors. Crittall-Braat windows were also used as office partition walls. Ketonen also wanted to renew the typography of the newspaper, and so Aalto designed a variety of fonts, as well as outdoor advertising and neon signs.

After the completion of the new printing house in the Turku district of Artukainen, significant changes were made inside the building. The alterations were carried out in stages in the 1980s in accordance with plans by Casagrande & Co Architects. The basement printing facilities were almost completely changed when a gym was established there. Only a few of the original mushroom columns still remain. All the residential floors were converted into editorial offices. The stucco render of the facades was renewed. The simple windows were replaced with thermal glass elements, which were fitted into the old metal window frames. The newspaper’s editorial office was moved in the early 2000s to Artukainen and the vacated spaces were leased to various commercial companies. In 2013 the Turun Sanomat offices returned to their former premises next to the main entrance. The alteration plans were drawn up by Haroma & Partners Architects.


Helena Soiri-Snellman

Aalto, Alvar (1930). ”Turun Sanomat, Turku”. Arkkitehti 6/1930.