Alvar Aalto - Finland
Enso-Gutzeit Head Office
Kanavakatu 31, Helsinki
1959 - 1962


The Enso-Gutzeit office building, designed by Alvar Aalto is located in the old neo-classical centre of Helsinki, in the neighborhoud of the market square, which opens onto the harbor. This arrangement somehow remembers the Rive degli Schiavoni in Venice. The five storey volume forms the termination of the Esplanadikatu, a broad park-like avenue. On a slightly higher level, but immediately behind this building, is located the Russian Orthodox church. Seen from the sea, the building appears as a clear cut volume, but towards the hillside is a large cut-out, improving the illumination of the interior.  The ground floor is recessed on two sides, creating an arcaded situation.

The building was designed as the headquarters of one of the largest cellulose and paper concerns in Finland. The layout of the standard office floor takes the natural light into account. The larger rooms are located on the outside, and can be subdivided according to the actual needs, while the subsidiary spaces are arranged on both sides of a central lobby. On the top floor, which is covered by a floating flat roof, is a a dining room with a roof terrace. Alvar Aalto took great care to design a modern building, which appears in harmony with the historic architecture. The scale of this building derives its horizotal and vertical character from the nearby historical buildings. The fašades are clad with white and grey-blue carrara marble.