Approaching Alvar Aalto’s Nordic House across fresh snow – the heaviest overnight snowfall in Iceland since 1937 arrived three days earlier – was a delight. Blue glazed tiles sparkled against a clear sky.
The Nordic House was set up to promote cultural exchange between the Nordic countries, and the building was designed to host and inspire a diverse cultural programme. The community/ performance space is not the largest space but is at the centre of the plan and is the high point of the section and elevations, next to the library – the big event of the building. The ground plan is interesting for the way this space can open up to the library, for various and flexible uses of the building. The building is modest in size but dynamic in plan and section, with a great flow between the spaces. Currently there is a ground floor bistro and small shop, and in the basement an educational space.
The roof of the community/ performance space steps up away from the library, and is lined internally with timber. The attention to design detail and quality of environment is obvious, with ventilation ducts in the ceiling and natural lighting to the interior.
The main library is filled with light, and has a sunken area at the centre with study tables tucked away.
Just one example of Aalto detailing…
photos: natasha nicholson, march 2017