Interface, extension of the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland ©2015
Client: Alvar Aalto Foundation & Municipality of Jyvaskyla
Status: Conceptual design, Competition for the extension of the Alvar Aalto Museum and the Museum of Central Finland
Design: Monolab
Team: Jan Willem van Kuilenburg with Sara Marino, Alexandra Ionita Mihaela, Ruxandra Milut, Lyubomira Momcheva, Noemi Niro, Sonia Betiuc Rebeca


…a humble, neutral and connective architecture…


INTERFACE mediates horizontally between the two Aalto museums and the green spaces in front and rear.


Interface can change its appearance and functionality by 5 semi-transparent curtains. At the front and back it has stainless steel chain mesh curtains, on the two museum sides white textile curtains and around the shop in the center a glass curtain. The curtains can be lifted and shifted in many ways to change transparencies and accessibilities on all sides. They will tune the visitor flows, the accessibility, the appearance and the contact between the museums. Each time the curtains will tell in what way the interface will function; like a temporary entry, like a reception room, a connector, a mini expo, a stage, a studio, etc. Interface will always look different.


Interface is neutral and acts as an in-between. On the exterior it shows very little; no traditional visual information like a roof edge, floor, entry or windows.


A simple path of flagstones leads to the steel mesh curtains and two standard glass screens with entries behind. The current facades of the two museums on both sides have been opened up and have a glazed ramp, wood railings, glass cabinets for mini expos and the white curtains.


Inside, visitors will be surprised to find ‘an organically shaped glass object’, a source of bright light in its center. It is the shop with views into the two museums. The object is defined by a glass opening in the roof, a glass floor towards the -1 level working stations and the glass curtain connecting both.

TEXTS by Alvar Aalto

Three design principles of Alvar Aalto are printed into the polished concrete floor, defining places to stay. The seats are made from cut trees that had to be removed to clear the building site.